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November 19, 2015

West Bengal’s land policy followed now by others: Dr Amit Mitra

West Bengal’s land policy followed now by others: Dr Amit Mitra

The land policy of the Trinamool Congress government in West Bengal of no forcible acquisition of land from farmers is now being followed by some other states, WB Finance and IT Minister Dr Amit Mitra said on Wednesday. The State Finance Minister will meet a Japanese Business delegation today and extend invitation from the State Government to attend the Bengal Global Business Summit 2016.

“The land policy of the present government under Mamata Banerjee clearly states that there will be no forcible land acquisition from farmers. This is now being followed elsewhere,” he said at the FICCI national executive meet.

Citing recent protests by farmers at Noida, Dr Mitra said that some states like Uttar Pradesh were now toeing the line which West Bengal had set. He said the state was having one lakh acres of land under various government departments which was readily available for setting up industries.

Highlighting the progress of the state in various fields during the last four years of Trinamool Congress rule, he said all macro-parameters like per capita income, plan expenditure, capital expenditure had improved while e-governance measures had pushed the state’s domestic product growth.

“When we came to office, there were many festering projects from 2006. One by one we solved them,” he said, giving the example of Shapoorji & Pallonji’s mass housing project at Rajarhat for which the Left Front had allocated 150 acres. The 20,000-unit mini township was stuck in bureaucratic tangle, which was resolved by chief minister Mamata Banerjee.

Dr Mitra focused his hour-long speech on e-governance initiatives such as e-bantan, e-pradan, e-billing, electronic file tracking and e-tendering and said the system would become more interconnected from December. “From December 1, we expect the whole lifecycle to be complete,” Dr Mitra said. Faster disbursement by electronic modes of payment, the minister said, helped the Government to spend more on development. “Bengal’s capital expenditure was Rs 2,225 crore in 2010-11. In 2014-15, it has grown to Rs 13,375 crore. Why wasn’t it happening before? Part of the reason is the lack of electronic payment.”

Dr Mitra also said that the state had bagged the “highest award” for e-governance among other states this year. “These awards indicate that through electronic methodology, we are cutting back time, reducing rent seeking and introducing transparency,” Dr Mitra said. Seamless implementation of e-governance across departments had helped in reducing time, decreasing rent seeking and increased transparency, he pointed out.