July 18, 2018
Bengal ‘driver economy’ for eastern states, says Finance Commission
Stating that Bengal’s economy is a “driver economy” for many other states in the eastern part of the country, N K Singh, Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission, praised the development projects taken up by the state government.
The 15th Finance Commission held a meeting with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Finance Minister Amit Mitra and senior officials of the state government on Tuesday.
After the detailed discussions with the state government, Singh said: “Some of the development initiatives that have been taken up are commendable in multiple ways in terms of job creation, harnessing the comparative advantage that Bengal has in terms of its intellectual capital.” The Chairman also stated that the Finance Commission has recognised that in the past few years the economy of Bengal has made enormous progress in terms of key macro-economic parameters on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), on improved debt management and on enhancing its own tax revenue. “The state has also made several strides on human development particularly in education and health sector,” he added.
The Commission’s Chairman said: “Some initiatives in which job and employment hubs of a labour intensive nature have been undertaken, particularly the issues of Information and Technology sector and leather industry are the two illustrative cases which were brought to the Commission’s notice.”
He maintained: “There are many virtuous features in what Bengal has done in terms of the tier three governance structure and delegation of substantial powers to the Panchayats and in terms of harnessing the comparative factors’ advantages of Bengal. These are the examples of key initiatives that would not only add to Bengal’s development but would be a pointer of how to harness comparative advantages of other states too.”
He further added: “We agree based on today’s meaningful discussions to continue interaction and dialogue with the state government on what needs to be done in both short and medium term for Bengal to become an important multiplier state in terms of the overall growth picture of the country.” In the same breath, he said that it is a fact that the state’s economy is very strategically placed with three countries bordering it. It is a driver economy for many other states in the east that shares the border with Bengal.