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February 17, 2014

Dr Mitra bats for inclusive growth in his Budget speech, as Bengal excels in all spheres

Dr Amit Mitra, West Bengal Finance Minister presented the State Budget for the year 2014 at the West Bengal Legislative Assembly today.  This is the third time he presented the State Budget.
At the very outset, he said that the budget is dedicated to the people of Bengal, who reposed their faith on the West Bengal Government in the recently concluded Panchayat elections.

He pointed out that in 2013-14, India's GDP growth rate was 4.9%, but the State`s GSDP grew at 7.7%. IIP (Index of industrial production) of India grew by 0.7% in FY 2013-14, but the growth rate of Bengal`s IIP was 9.7%. Agricultural production in India grew at 4.6% in 2013-14 but Bengal showed a growth of 5.2%. That Bengal is progressing at a faster rate than India, was evident from all the statistics he put forward.

The Central Govt has not cooperated with us to cope with the huge debt of Left Front Govt, he said. The Central Govt has taken away about Rs 70000 crores as debt instalments. People will never forgive Left Front, he said. The Central Govt has not yet paid WB the due amount as compensation for CST. It amounts to over Rs 3000 crores. It is generally said `what Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow`. Dr Mitra added `what Bengal does today, India does tomorrow`; that is evident in the achievements of the State Government.

Highlights of the Finance Minister`s Budget Speech:

  • State planned expenditure increased by 34.95% in the last fiscal.
  • We started the Kanyashree scheme. 15 lakh girls will come under this scheme by March. UNICEF came forward to partner with us in Kanyashree scheme.
  • We started fair price medicine shops. There are 7 such shops with up to 67% discounts on medicines. Several other states have adopted our model of fair price medicine shops. Centre wants it to be National model.
  • We started a novel project of simultaneously starting the work of building roads across 3349 panchayats.
  • WB Govt's success in Jangalmahal is now a national model to counter ultra-Left terror.
  • We created a record in food production. We produced 174 lakh metric tonnes of food grain in FY 2013-14.
  • Planning Expense raised to Rs 18,894 Cr
  • 3 crore ration cards have been digitized.
  • Scholarships to 22 lakh students
  • 3.2 crore people in Bengal get rice at Rs 2/kg.
  • Bengal secured the first rank in terms of creating jobs under 100 days work scheme.
  • 28 lakh Kisan Credit Cards have been distributed from May 2011 till December 2013.
  • 98.26% schools (82% girls' schools) have sanitation facilities.
  • 36,95,683 students from backward classes have been given scholarships.
  • 188 km roads and 13 bridges are being constructed in 11 backward districts.
  • Our target for Jal Dharo, Jal Bharo was 10,000 per year. We have already completed creating over one lakh ponds.
  • WB received 2.8 crore tourists in 2013 of which 14,62,000 were foreign. This is 16% higher than 2012.
  • Credit flow in MSME sector saw 105% growth, the highest in India.
  • 13,21,000 new employment opportunities created in the last fiscal.
  • Our target for FY 2014-15 would be to create 16 lakh new employment opportunities.
  • Investment in IT has increased up to Rs 1100 crores.
  • Loss-making Mother Dairy firm is now generating profits.
  • 13 IT parks and hardware parks will be set up in Bengal.
  • 31new colleges to be opened.
  • A IIIT is being set up in the state.
  • A fleet of 1000 new buses is to be introduced.
  • 95 Krishak Bazaars, generating employment for about 50000 families to be completed.
  • 250766 people have been brought under the purview of self-help groups.
  • 102 new Kisan Mandis to be set up
  • Gati Dhara scheme in Transport system to start.
  • Rs 500 crores allotted for irrigation facilities.
  • VAT Enrollment & Registration will be available in DMAT form online.
  • All tax services will be under a single window for faster clearance system.
  • Special emphasis given on state Highway networks.
  • Major restructuring of Britti Kar, upper limit raised to Rs 60,000 from Rs. 18,000
  • WB Govt. to do away with education cess from next fiscal year.
  • Allotment for Minority Development Department: Rs 1707 crores.
  • Allotment for Agri Marketing : Rs 225 Cr
  • Allotment for Housing : Rs 700 Cr
  • Allotment for Agricultural Marketing Department: Rs 255 crores.
  • Allotment for Commerce and Industries Department: Rs 126.70 crores.
  • Allotment for Panchayat and Rural Development Ministry for FY2014-15 is Rs 7407 crores.
  • Allotment for Agriculture for FY 2014-15 is 1157.72 crores.
  • Allotment for Public Health Engineering department for FY 2014-15 is 1336 crores.
  • Allotment for PHE – Rs1336 Cr
  • Allotment for Higher Education Rs. 342.95 Cr
  • Allotment for Small scale Industry Rs. 536.28
  • Allotment for Technical Education: Rs 549 Cr
  • Allotment for Minority Development: Rs. 1707 Cr
  • Allotment for Allotment for Commerce & Industry: Rs. 126.7 Cr
  • Allotment for Food processing: Rs 120 Cr
  • Allotment for Food & Supply: Rs 175 Cr
  • Allotment for Tourism: Rs 223 Cr
  • Allotment for Youth Services Rs 130 Cr
  • 1.3 lakhs jobs in IT sector
  • 8 lakh employment in Karma Tirtha Markets
  • 1 Lakh new jobs in MSME
  • Lavatories in 82% Girls schools
  • Targeted revenue collection in next financial year: Rs 45 Thousand Crores