Bengal budget pro-people, says TMC; BJP calls it rudderless

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Kolkata, July 7 (PTI) West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday hailed the state budget for the financial year 2021-22 as pro-people and claimed that allocations had been made to fulfil all the poll promises for ushering a new wave of populist schemes.

The BJP, on the other hand, described it as 'rudderless and full of lies'.

West Bengal's Trinamool Congress government waived road tax on passenger transport vehicles and offered a rebate on stamp duty as it tabled a Rs 3.08 lakh crore budget in the assembly earlier in the day.

'Despite several financial constraints, we have come out with a pro-people budget. We have made allocations or have increased funds for all the pro-people schemes we had promised covering every section of the society,' Banerjee, also the TMC supremo, said at a post-budget press conference.

Industry Minister Partha Chatterjee presented the Budget as Finance Minister Amit Mitra is unwell.

Later, addressing the press conference virtually, Mitra claimed that that West Bengal is stimulating demand whereas the Centre is stimulating supply by giving credit.

'The policy of the Centre to stimulate supply will not work. The Centre has reduced corporate tax by 10 per cent, hoping that companies will invest. But they are not investing.

'Whereas the state government is giving money to the people which is helping them in purchasing goods from the market and in turn helping the SMEs (small and medium enterprises),' Mitra said.

He alleged that the Central government does not understand the basics of macroeconomics.

'The Centre also doesn't listen to the experts who are suggesting stimulating demand by giving money in the hands of the people. This is exactly what the US did after the Great Depression,' the finance minister said.

While India experienced negative growth whereas West Bengals economy grew by 1.2 per cent, Mitra claimed.

In his reaction to the budget, Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari of the BJP said, 'Just like previous years, this year too the state government has come out with a budget which is not only rudderless but also full of lies. There has been no major investment in the state in the last ten years.' Echoing him, noted economist and BJP MLA Ashok Lahiri wondered if West Bengal's GSDP has grown by 1.2 per cent, how it has become the biggest exporter of migrant workers to other states.

'If the condition of states economy is so good, how a large number of people are going to other states as migrant workers? This only reflects that there are no investments, no jobs. Secondly, in the budget, the government has not clarified how many schemes are aided by the central funds and how many by the state government,' he said. PTI DC PNT NN NN

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