Rs 8 crore Deficit budget for 2020-21 placed in Bengal Assembly today

ST Bureau

Kolkata,10 January : West Bengal Finance minister Amit Mitra today presented a Rs 8 crore deficit budget for 2020-21 in the state Assembly here with an eye on multiple growth trajectory in the areas of social security,agriculture and industry besides employment generation.

Though there was no clear provision for generation of enough revenue for the state in the budget to meet the huge deficit, an outlay of Rs 2,55,677 crores had been made by the Finance minister under various heads for the introduction and development of several Social Security schemes, Healthcare, Education and for the growth of Small and Medium sector industries to generate more employment.

Claiming that the growth of GDP in West Bengal had touched an all time high of 10.4 per cent this year against the national average of 5.7 per cent, Dr Mitra in his hour long speech informed the house this afternoon that during this year the rate of unemployment in the state had been reduced by a record 40 per cent when about 9.11 lakh people were given jobs under various schemes.

The industrial growth was also up by 5 times during this year,compared to only about 2 per cent at the National level, he claimed amid thumping of desks.

Presenting his budget proposals for the coming fiscal (2020-21), the Finance minister said in spite of a deficit of Rs 8 crores,the state government had decided to start a number of Social services schemes for the economically backward people under which monthly pensions of Rs 1,000 would be paid to every Scheduled caste and Scheduled Tribe person after attaining the age of 60,to help them come out of abject poverty and social backwardness.
A total allocation of Rs 2,500 crores had been made for this purpose, Dr Mitra announced and said in addition another Rs 500 crores were set aside for the social Pension scheme for every person belonging to BPL category.

Under the scheme each of the 1.5 crore beneficiaries in the state would now get the benefit of Rs 2 lakh each absolutely free, instead of Rs 25 per month earlier.

Similarly, in the Education sector, Dr Mitra announced, the government had decided to set up three more universities next year in different parts of the state including the country’s first Tribal University at Jhargram at a total cost of Rs 100 crores for the purpose.
In addition,he said three new Civil Services Academy would come up in Kolkata, Siliguri and Durgapur by next year with an allocation of Rs 15 crores to enable more students from the state to go for civil services examinations.

For the development of nearly 3 lakh workers in over 370 tea gardens in West Bengal,the government would also for the first time, spend Rs 500 crores during the next three years for building their permanent houses, the Finance minister while presenting his last full scale annual budget before the next year’s state Assembly elections,announced amid continuous thumping of desks by the members.
The government had also allocated Rs 200 crores under a new ‘Hasir Alo’ scheme for providing free electricity to 3.5 million poor families who were using the maximum 75 units of power in every three months cycle, he said.
Moreover,in order to boost the industrial growth of the state,which claimed to have already attracted over Rs 22,500 crores as Foreign Direct Investment,the state government had decided to set up another 100 industrial hub/perks during the next couple of years at a cost of Rs 200 crores to add to the present number of 520.

Several major cuts had also been announced by the Finance minister to reduce the tax burden from industries besides waving their legal expenses to enable them to go for one time settlement in cases of multiple industrial disputes .

Steps would also be taken to digitalise the entire process of issuing of certificates and necessary papers of every government scheme under a new project called ‘Bangla Sahayata Kendra’ at the block level, Dr Mitrea said while ending his long speech by reciting a few lines from the poems, written by Chief minister Mamata Banerjee.