Even as chief minister Mamata Banerjee continued her tirade against the Centre for hurriedly implementating GST, state finance minister Amit Mitra on Wednesday said in Assembly that the losses due to GST in Bengal were lower than many other states as “the digitised system was already in place.”
“The loss in September-October was Rs 1,132 crore for Gujarat and Rs 1,054 crore for Bihar while Karnataka recorded a loss of Rs 2,000 crore. In comparison, Bengal recorded a loss amounting to Rs 589 crore, one of the lowest among states,” said Mr Mitra while reacting to the Budget discussions.
Elaborating on the reason behind the lower loss, Mr Mitra said: “A completely digitised system was in place when we migrated to GST. Though the small traders could not cope with the change as they were unable to uplink, the middle traders shifted immediately. So our state recorded the minimum loss. The credit for which goes to our e-governance initiative for which Bengal had bagged awards.”
Earlier, Mr Mitra had alleged the Union government has not fulfilled its commitment for reimbursing the loss on account of introduction of GST. The state has lost to the tune of Rs 1,850 crore on this count, he had said adding the state was yet to recieve the compensation of Rs 850 crore.
Reacting to leader of the Left Front Legislative Party Sujan Chakraborty’s comparison between the state Budget and the Union Budget, Mr Mitra said the latter’s was a bluff while the state had laid out allocations alongwith the plan of action.
Deliberating on the sector-wise higher allotments made by the state, the minister said the Centre had alloted 2.76 per cent in health compared to 14.5 per cent by the state. In rural development, the Centre had allotted 1.84 per cent while the state had alloted 13.29 per cent. In minority affairs, central funds were slashed while state alloted 6.69 per cent while for SC/ST only 0.01 per cent allotment was made by the Centre while the state alloted 7.62 per cent.
Mr Chakraborty had alleged the state government was ideologically following the Centre by merging plan and non-plan heads this Budget as the BJP-led government had replaced the Planning Commission by Niti Aayog when it came to power. Our Constitution does not recognise the separate heads of plan and non plan in Budget, he said. Congress MLA Manoj Chakraborty demanded a hike in the salaries of MLA as that of the ministers has already been increased.