In an attempt to revive the country’s economy, chief minister Mamata Banerjee today called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union government to work together with the Opposition parties and refrain from doing “politics of vendetta”. She even alleged that the Centre has deprived Bengal of around Rs 89 crore which could have helped the state in undertaking more development work.
“Everybody should work together to improve the economic condition of the country. If needed Prime Minister should speak to the Opposition parties. We can provide solutions to the problem. We don’t want the common people to suffer,” said Miss Banerjee at a Press Conference in Assembly after the state budget. Referring to the recent comments by RBI on economic state, Miss Banerjee said that instead of being busy in the politics of hatred, the Union government should do something to improve the condition.
“Whatever RBI is saying is a sensitive matter. The Union government should look after the economy, instead of being busy in the politics of hatred and doing politics of vendetta. The Prime Minister should take everybody along and if required he should hold discussions with the Opposition parties,” said Miss Banerjee alleging that nowadays states are not consulted by the Union government before taking any decision. Miss Banerjee said that this is a “pro-people budget” keeping in mind the needs of the people.
State finance minister Amit Mitra tabled a Rs 2,55,677 crore budget, which is 7.4 per cent higher than previous year, with 18 per cent rise in planned expenditure. For 2020-21, the state government has projected tax revenue receipts of Rs 70,807 crore against the revised estimate of Rs 65,806 crore in 2019- 20. This is the last full Budget before the 2021 state Assembly polls. Accusing the Centre of financially depriving the state, Mr Mitra said that the state has been deprived of Rs 50,486 crore on account of devolution, grants and GST compensation.
“On the part of devolution of taxes, the Union government has not given us Rs 11,213 crore due to low tax collections by them. Next, we have been deprived of grants amounting to Rs 37,973 crore. Although GST compensation is our Constitutional right, we have been deprived Rs 1,300 crore this month itself,” said Mr Mitra adding that not a single penny was given to the state as compensation for cyclonic storm Bulbul though state had provided compensation of Rs 1,200 crore. Chief Minister complained that even as the state is being deprived of a total of Rs 89 crore Central funds, Rs 50,000 crore is deducted from the state exchequer as debt repayment.
Miss Banerjee further rued that state’s shares of several Central schemes have been drastically hiked compelling the state government to run its own scheme like Swastha Sathi instead of Centre-sponsored Ayushman and continue bearing the financial load despite Centre withdrawing it as in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan. Despite such financial constraints, the state has never stopped itself from including more and more people under its social security schemes by announcing new schemes as well as continuing with the existing ones, Miss Banerjee said.
Elaborating on the sharp rise in budgetary allocation during Trinamul Congress regime since 2010-11, Miss Banerjee said that the allocation of capital outlay has risen by 13.9 times, school education by 16 times, higher education by 20 times, minority affairs by 9.5 times, backward classes and tribal affairs by four times, social sector by 6.3 times and health by 12 times.
“We don’t believe on taxing people as a means of revenue generation nor do we sell off the sick units. Our budget is people centric and targeted at benefitting people. Our schemes are prepared in such a manner that it helps everyone. We don’t provide financial assistance on the basis of politics,” Miss Banerjee added.
Some of the departments with higher budgetary allocations include education, sports, art and culture (37,301.63 crore), health and family welfare (11,280.21 crore), agriculture and allied activities (10,648 crore), rural development ( 21,370.77 crore), water supply sanitation and urban development (14,406.41 crore) and social welfare and nutrition (19,743.86 crore). While tabling the budget, Mr Mitra said that while the country is going down on various economic indices, West Bengal is surging forward in terms of GSDP growth and on other yardsticks.