India Today Conclave: Amit Mitra defends Bengal growth model, accuses center of destroying federalism

West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra at the India Today Conclave East 2021 session on “THE ECONOMIC AGENDA: Growth vs. Populism: The Bengal Model” accused the Center of destroying India’s federalist regime ” room by room “. He said the Center was damaging the structure of federalism in the country. “On the compensation of the GST, confidence is lost. The Center cut the central regimes in the name of reorganization. They even cut our decentralization, which is a constitutional right. They increased the tax and the surtax.”

Regarding the increase in state debt, Mitra defended himself by saying, “When we came to power, the debt-to-GDP ratio was 44%, which has now risen to 34%. The state’s GDP was Rs 4.5 lakh crore when we came to power. The GDP is 12.5 lakh crore today, “he added.

Mitra said the state government has kept the FRBM (fiscal responsibility and budget management) below 3% every day since the TMC government took office in the state. “FRBM is the proportion of GDP you can borrow. It was 3% before the coronavirus pandemic. We kept it below 3% every day every year. You can’t talk about debt because Nagaland’s debt and Maharashtra’s debt are not comparable, “he said.

Regarding the Centre’s divestment plan, Mitra said PSUs should be self-sufficient and divestment was not the right answer to get rid of deficit PSUs.

“After privatization, they are taken over by global organizations. For example, India’s largest private bank, HDFC Bank, has a 77 percent foreign stake. ICICI Bank has a 67 percent foreign stake. YES Bank, when the anomalies were reported, secured an investment worth Rs 9,000 crore from a state bank, ”he said.

He added that the state’s budget deficit was 2.9% even amid the coronavirus. “How is the Center at 9 percent,” he said. Mitra said the state government provides 100% health insurance to all residents of the state without taking a single penny from the Center.

He said populism and populist acts are good for the economy. Regarding the Centre’s accusations that West Bengal is not implementing central programs, Mitra compared the Centre’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” program with the Government of Bengal’s “Kanyashree” program – an initiative taken to improve performance. life and status of girls by economically helping backward families. He also said that 80 percent of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao funds were spent on advertising.

Regarding investments in the state, Mitra said that the state is home to Asia’s largest leather hub and boasts all kinds of small, medium and large factories.

Also Read: India Today Conclave: Bibek Debroy Identifies Problem With Bengal Manufacturing Sector

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