Incomplete Budget Would Create More Pressure On Common People
The state budget is an incomplete document full of false promises, averred former state Finance Minister Ashim Das Gupta at a Press Conference on Saturday. The revenue collection objective is not clear in this budget. Resultantly the whole revenue collection issue remains problematic. Secondly the employment generation mechanism and meager allotment in respective departments have made the situation more problematic. Thirdly to meet the revenue deficit the State Government has taken a colossal amount of debt, which is highest in the country. Moreover the budget has made some wrong statements about the former Left Front Government.
While placing an economic account in the name of budget last year, Amit Mitra assured that the present Government would improve the revenue collection by 30%. They would collect an estimated Rs. 27,690 cr in 2011-2012 which is higher than the revised target Rs. 21,300 cr in 2010-2011, i.e. an improvement of around 30%. But the real picture is something different. The Government has managed to increase revenue collection by only 18% compared to 25% during the former Left Front period. So the total deficit from the target set by the current Government comes up to Rs. 2756 cr. To meet such deficit the State Government has taken external debt of amount Rs. 17,000 cr. There has to be proper explanation of such deficit in revenue collection. In this budget the Government has set a target of increasing revenue collection by 25% though there is no mention about how this is to be achieved. Moreover the Government has mostly carried on with the mechanisms of increasing revenue collection as had been formulated by the Left Front Government.
While mentioning meager or stagnant allotments in departments like Higher Education, School Education, urban and rural development, irrigation, cottage and small-scale industry, Sundarban development, and Paschimanchal development, Ashim Das Gupta said that these departments are the important instruments and sectors where Government can generate new employment. Left Front Government has always been emphasizing this area of development. The yearly growth rate of employment generation from 1999-2000 to 2009-2010 was 7.2% compared to the national growth rate of just 4.2%. Amit Mitra has assured that by next year more than 11lakhs employment opportunities would be created. What is the basis of such promise? Why did not his budget give a proper road up of how to increase employment generation?
About the debt burden of the state Amit Mitra completely misrepresented the actual fact. It was said that per capita debt is highest in this state, which is a white lie. According to the RBI report West Bengal is in 12th position, where Punjab, Gujarat, Maharasthra topped the list. According to the Government of India the per capita debt of the country is Rs.32, 311. in 2010-11 financial year the total debt was Rs. 1.92 lakh crore which was brought down in the next financial period as the State Government had taken lower debt, amounting to Rs.1.86lakh,cr. But the debt amount has already shot up to Rs.2.08lakh,cr in the current financial year and it would reach Rs.2.26lakh,cr in the next financial year.
In the last budget, Amit Mitra had said that the budget deficit of the last year of the Left Front Government would be Rs. 2838 crore. But the fact that has come out is that there was actually a surplus of Rs. 169 crore during that period. Instead of pointing out this basic fact, the Finance Minister indulged in cheap attack against the Left Front Government.
In short, the budget is nowhere in terms of addressing the basic problems of the people of the state. The statements made by the Finance Minister are aimed at grandstanding without any substance.