Bengal to get Rs.21,614 crore financial package


Kolkata : The central government has sanctioned a financial package of Rs.21,614 crore for economically stressed West Bengal, including a grant-in-aid of Rs.9,240 crore, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced here Saturday.

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The amount was finalised after a series of meetings between union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee and his West Bengal counterpart Amit Mitra in New Delhi. Earlier Banerjee had also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Mukherjee over the demand.

“We thank the finance minister and the prime minister. West Bengal was one of three states in debt trap. The finance ministry has sanctioned the amount following the prime minister’s intervention. The tight situation will somehow ease for some time now,” the chief minister told mediapersons at the state secretariat Writers’ Buildings.

Banerjee said what would really help her government in carrying out development work was a grant-in-aid of Rs.9,240 crore.

“The rest are all loans which we have to repay,” she said.

Banerjee has time and again accused the erstwhile Left Front government of leaving a loan burden of around Rs.2 lakh crore on the state.

“There was no financial monitoring, e-governance and financial management,” she said.

Banerjee indicated that her government would demand more such packages from the central government, saying: “This is only an initial amount”.

The amount would also comprise Rs.300 crore given as agricultural support, Rs.100 crore for green energy development and Rs.94 crore for carrying out development work in the left-wing extremist affected western districts of the state.

Banerjee said the state would come up with its general budget soon.

Earlier the state government had insisted on coming up with another vote-on-account for the remaining months of the financial year besides a tax bill, which was opposed by the union finance minister.

“Our financial situation is very bad. 89 percent of the money is spent in interest payment. We have to self-sufficient economically,” she said.