Bangla’s GDP growth rate is 12.58%: Dr Amit Mitra

At today’s inauguration of industrial parks and a host of other initiatives at a programme at Nabanna Sabhaghar, Dr Amit Mitra, the State Finance, Commerce and Industry, and MSME Minister, gave out data that proves that under the leadership of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Bangla is going strong, despite the hapless state of the economy in other parts of the country.

He said that the State’s GDP growth rate (GSDP, or gross state domestic product) stands at 12.58 per cent, which is the best in the country.

Other figures which prove the rapid progress that Bangla has been making include the State Government’s capital expenditure increasing by 11 times in the last eight years (Trinamool Congress Government), Plan Budget increasing by seven times and income tax collection increasing by three times.

In relation to the inauguration of the MSME industrial parks in Howrah, Dr Mitra said that 70 per cent of employment in India is provided by the MSME sector, 45 per cent of the manufacturing sector is comprised of MSMEs and 40 per cent of India’s exports are contributed to by the MSME sector.

These numbers prove that the decision of the State Government to provide loans on a large scale to the MSME sector has provided huge dividends.

Bantala leather complex set to become global leather hub

Kolkata has always been an important leather hub in India. Under the Trinamool-led Bangla Government, the Calcutta Leather Complex (CLC) in Bantala is poised to become the world’s largest leather cluster, with the potential to employ more than 6 lakh people, in the next few years.

Currently, the complex has a turnover of Rs 13,500 crore including export and local sale and employs over 2.5 lakh workers directly.

The State Finance Minister, Dr Amit Mitra announced at a programme in Bantala on February 26, 2019 that the State Government is planning to spend Rs 540 crore for massive infrastructure development with the intention of turning the leather hub into the world’s largest.

There are plans to add 200 more tanneries and 230 more leather units and footwear parks on the available 230 acres of space, adding to the existing 300 tanneries and 40 leather goods manufacturing units. The existing turnover expected to rise to Rs 27,000 crore in the near future.

At the event, the minister handed over letters of land allotment to 25 big tanneries including 12 each from Kanpur and Kolkata and one from Chennai.

Further expounding on the infrastructural development plans, the Dr Mitra said that four common effluent treatment plants (CETP) are already under renovation, while four more worth Rs 168 crore will be set up.

It may also be mentioned that there are plans to set up dumping grounds at Bantala for disposal of toxic waste while the State is also coming up with a modern design centre and a road network as part of the infrastructural boost.

Source: Millennium Post

Depreciating rupee will increase oil prices, kill small businesses: Mamata Banerjee

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today tweeted about the alarming rate at which the rupee is getting devalued, saying it will lead to a host of problems for the economy of the country, including an increase in oil import bills and the closing down of small businesses. For the latter, this will be another massive blow following that of demonetisation.

Among other sectors to be hit would be agriculture. Farmers’ distress will be compounded as the rupee falls. Also, as a consequence of oil prices going up, transportation will become costlier and naturally, the prices of vegetables and other farm items will go up.

She ended by saying that “the writing is on the wall” for the BJP-led government at the Centre.



Rs 25,000 crore export dues still pending: Amit Mitra

GST refunds to the tune of Rs 25,000 crore are still pending for exporters, the West Bengal Finance Minister, Dr Amit Mitra, has said.

Nearly 3,00,000 refund applications have been received since the roll-out of the GST regime on July 1. Around 35-40 per cent of these applications have to be physically verified since the GST Network (or GSTN) is not in place, Dr Mitra alleged.

Auto verification would have ensured faster clearance of documents and quicker refunds.

“GSTN is still not in place and delay in auto verification of documents has delayed refunds for exporters,” the Finance Minister said during a press conference organised by WBIDC in Kolkata on Monday.

Dr Mitra pointed out that physical verification of documents are now being done by officials and this can give rise to a set of “inspector-raaj”.

“We will take up the matter with the GST council. Moreover, I have been saying this for quite some time that GSTN is not at all ready. And the result is this Rs 25,000 crore export dues,” he said.


Dr Amit Mitra & fin mins of 6 other States meet to demand amending of ToR of 15th Fin Commission

To protest the Central Government’s decision of changing the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the 15th Finance Commission, of moving the population base year from 1971 to 2011 for determining the States’ share of allocation of the taxes collected by the Centre, the finance ministers of Bengal, Delhi, Punjab, Puducherry, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Karnataka met in Amaravati, the capital of Andhra Pradesh, yesterday.

The change in the population base year would discriminate against the States which have done exemplary work in reducing the burden of population, and the States which met yesterday would be among the most affected. As an example, while the average fertility rate of the country is 2.3, the fertility rate of Bengal is 1.6.

On the other hand, States which have not managed to reduce the burden, like Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Gujarat, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, and which, not so coincidentally, as it turns out, are all ruled by the BJP, would be big gainers.

The new ToR, if implemented, would result in Bengal losing between Rs 22,000 crore and Rs 35,000 crore from 2020-2025 (the period of implementation of the 15th Finance Commission). This will cause huge deprivation to the State. Taking all losing States into account, like Kerala, Odisha, Punjab, Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and a few others, the losses would range from, on a conservative basis, Rs 343 crore to Rs 24,000 crore.

Population is one of the primary criteria for determining the share of each State in the divisive pool. All the States and Union Territories are collectively allocated 42 per cent of the Central taxes collected each financial year. The remaining 58 per cent is for the Centre to use for national purposes.

The States which met in Amaravati yesterday are also preparing a joint memorandam to be presented to the Central Government for demanding the amending of the Terms of Reference to remove any discrimination.

Earlier, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had written a letter to the Centre on the same issue, asking for the changing of the new ToR.

In it, she had also written that not just in reducing population, but also on aspects like 100 Days’ Work (MGNREGA scheme), rural road connectivity and e-tendering, as well as some others, Bengal has been a trend-setter. For quite a few of these, the current Central Government too has showered praise and encouragement.

For Bengal, another important issue to be considered is the fact that the Trinamool Congress Government has to repay the huge debt left behind by the Left Front Government. The burden amounted to a total of Rs 2.35 lakh crore till March 31, 2018. For financial year 2018-19, the amount to be repaid is Rs 48,000 crore.


Source: Bartaman

Trinamool Govt has done a lot for small and medium businesses, and farmers: Dr Amit Mitra

Finance Minister Dr Amit Mitra, while replying to a debate in the State Assembly, said that the Trinamool Congress Government has done a lot to help small and medium businesses, and farmers, among others, and elaborated on the statement.

He said that the government has done away with the requirement for businesses with an annual turnover of less than Rs 20 lakh to pay the goods and services tax (GST). This would benefit 1 lakh 27 thousand 45 small and medium-scale businesses.

And for those with an annual turnover of less than Rs 1.5 lakh, there is the single control system (SCS), which would benefit 1.87 lakh businesses. Additionally, there is the Composition Scheme for such businesses, through which businesses are being able to improve their bottomline by paying much less tax. This is benefitting 1.87 lakh businesses.

Dr Mitra then spelt out the measures taken for farmers by the Maa-Mati-Manush Government led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The State Government has created a fund of Rs 100 crore for buying farmers’ products at the minimum support price (MSP) so that even when there is excess production, farmers do not suffer because of the fall in prices. He said that no other state has been able to create such a fund and that this would immensely help the farmers of Bengal.

Then, the government has also done away with the mutation fee paid by farmers to give them relief. This would benefit seven to eight lakh farmers.


২০ লক্ষ টাকার নীচে জিএসটি নয়ঃ অমিত মিত্র

২০ লক্ষ টাকার নীচে যে সমস্ত প্রতিষ্ঠানের বার্ষিক টার্নওভার, তাদের জন্য কোনও জিএসটি নয়। এর ফলে রাজ্যের ১ লক্ষ ২৭ হাজার ৪৫টি ক্ষুদ্র ও ছোট ব্যাবসায়ী প্রতিষ্ঠান লাভ করেছে এবং তারা ব্যাবসা করছে। বিধানসভায় একথাই জানান অর্থমন্ত্রী অমিত মিত্র। তিনি বলেন, ‘ক্ষুদ্র ও ছোট ব্যবসায়ীদের স্বার্থকে বিশেষ গুরুত্ব দিয়ে দেখছে রাজ্য সরকার।’ এছাড়াও অর্থমন্ত্রী জানান, কম্পোজিশন স্কিম চালু করা হয়েছে। অল্প ট্যাক্স দিয়ে ব্যাবসার শ্রীবৃদ্ধি ঘটাচ্ছেন ব্যাবসায়ীরা। এই স্কিমে উপকৃত হয়েছেন ৮০ হাজার।

এছাড়াও দেড় লক্ষ টাকার নীচে যাদের ব্যাবসায়িক টার্নওভার তাদের জন্য রয়েছে সিঙ্গল কন্ট্রোল সিস্টেম। এতে উপকৃত ১.৮৭ লক্ষ ব্যাবসায়ী।

মাঝারি ব্যাবসায়ীদের এন্ট্রি ট্যাক্স সুদ ও জরিমানা মুকুব, কৃষকদের মিউটেশনে ছাড় সহ রাজ্য সরকার সাধারন মানুষের জন্য যে সকল পদক্ষেপ নিয়েছে তা তিনি বিধানসভায় জানান।

কৃষকদের সহায়তায় বিশেষ তহবিল গঠন করা হয়েছে। অধিক ফলনে দাম পড়বে, এই অবস্থা থেকে কৃষকদের পাশে দাড়াতেই এই পদক্ষেপ। ১০০ কোটি টাকা আছে এই তহবিলে। অধিক ফলন হলেও যাতে কৃষকরা ন্যায্য মূল্য পান, তাই এই বিশেষ তহবিল গঠন। যা এই রাজ্যে একমাত্র আছে দেশের মধ্যে। মিউটেশন ফি মুকুব করায় লাভবান হয়েছে ৭-৮ লক্ষ কৃষক।


Bengal Government to procure 10 lakh bicycles for Sabuj Sathi

The Backward Classes Welfare (BCW) department will float the tender for 10 lakh bicycles which will be distributed among the students of Class IX of state-run, aided and sponsored schools under the Sabuj Sathi project.
The state government has so far distributed 60 lakh bicycles, the highest by any state government in the country.
The decision to distribute bicycles among students of Classes IX, X, XI and XII were announced by the state Finance minister Amit Mitra in his Budget speech in 2015. The Chief Minister distributed the first batch of bicycles among the students at a function at Gopiballavpur Block II in West Midnapore on October 29, 2015.
The BCW department has given training to over 3,000 unemployed SC and ST youths to repair bicycles in a bid to make them self-reliant. The cycles that are being given will be maintained by the state government for one whole year free of cost.


সবুজসাথীর জন্য আরও ১০ লক্ষ সাইকেল কিনবে রাজ্য সরকার

অনগ্রসর শ্রেণী কল্যাণ দপ্তর সবুজসাথী প্রকল্পের জন্য আরও ১০ লক্ষ সাইকেলের টেন্ডার প্রক্রিয়া শুরু করতে চলেছে। এই সাইকেল রাজ্য সরকার পরিচালিত, অনুদানপ্রাপ্ত ও স্পন্সর্ড স্কুলগুলির নবম শ্রেণীর পড়ুয়াদের বিলি করা হবে।
এখনও পর্যন্ত এই প্রকল্পের অধীনে ৬০ লক্ষ সাইকেল বিলি করা হয়েছে, যা দেশে সর্বাধিক। যে সাইকেল পড়ুয়াদের দেওয়া হয়, সেগুলির প্রথম এক বছরের রক্ষণাবেক্ষণের দায়িত্ব সরকারের।
২০১৫ সালের বাজেট বক্তৃতায় রাজ্যের অর্থমন্ত্রী সবুজসাথী প্রকল্পের কথা ঘোষণা করেন। ২০১৫ সালের ২৯শে অক্টোবর মুখ্যমন্ত্রী মমতা বন্দ্যোপাধ্যায় স্বয়ং এই প্রকল্পের শুভ সূচনা করেন পশ্চিম মেদিনীপুরের গোপীবল্লভপুর ২ ব্লকে।
উল্লেখ্য, তফসিলি জাতি ও উপজাতির ৩০০০ বেকার মানুষকে সাইকেল সারানোর প্রশিক্ষণ দিয়েছে অনগ্রসর শ্রেণী কল্যাণ দপ্তর, তাদের স্বনির্ভর করার লক্ষ্যে।

Bantala leather industry to become major hunting ground for job seekers: Dr Amit Mitra

Bantala Leather Complex is going to have a renaissance in job generation in the next two years. With five lakh people already working in the complex, the state’s plan is to double the number in the next two years, state finance and industry minister Amit Mitra said on Monday.

Addressing the inauguration of 23rd India International Leather Fair (IILF), Mr Mitra said keeping an eye on job generation in the state, the state government is going whole hog to make the Bantala leather industry a major hunting ground for job seekers.

In this connection, the state government is making all out efforts to develop its infrastructure to double the number of workforce in the next two years. “It has to be kept in mind that about 55 percent of leather goods worth of Rs 7000 crore are exported from the state.

With the demands of the industry growing over the years, the job generation will be doubled in the next two years,” Mitra said. To underscore the industry’s booming state, state industries minister said leather exports from the state alone is 1 billion out of 8.25 billion.

In this context, Dr Mitra said, “The state has taken ambitious projects for infrastructure development on war footing to make Bantala leather industry environment-friendly.” “For that four effluent treatment plants are being set up at Bantala leather city.

Of which two are already under tendering process. To top it all, an effluent treatment transport system is also being put in place for quick disposal of hazardous wastes”, the minister said.

Dwelling on the infrastructure development further, Dr Mitra said, “We have built a Technical Training service centre at an investment of Rs 14 crore which is in operation now. We have set up Italian machinery worth $2 million there.”



চর্মশিল্পে ৫ বছরে ৫ হাজার কোটির লগ্নি: অর্থমন্ত্রী


চর্মশিল্পে রাজ্যে আগামী ৫ বছরে ৫ হাজার কোটি টাকা বিনিয়োগ হবে বলে আশা করছেন অর্থ ও শিল্প–বাণিজ্য মন্ত্রী অমিত মিত্র।

বিশ্ববঙ্গ কনভেনশন সেন্টারে এক অনুষ্ঠানের উদ্বোধন করতে গিয়ে তিনি বলেন, বানতলায় কলকাতা লেদার কমপ্লেক্স ঢেলে সাজানো হচ্ছে। ৩৫০ কোটি টাকা খরচ হবে। এই কমপ্লেক্সে ইউনিট খুলতে চেয়ে আবেদন জানিয়েছে ৩০০টি সংস্থা। কানপুর এবং চেন্নাই থেকে বেশ কয়েকটি বড় চর্মশিল্প সংস্থা আগ্রহ প্রকাশ করেছে এখানে বিনিয়োগের। বানতলা চর্মনগরীর বর্জ্য পরিশোধন ব্যবস্থাপনা আরও আধুনিক করে গড়ে তোলা হচ্ছে।

তিনি বলেন, এর মধ্যে এ রাজ্য থেকে ১০০ কোটি ডলার অর্থমূল্যের চামড়া রপ্তানি হয়েছে। আগামী ৫ বছরে এই পরিমাণ ৩ গুণ বাড়ানোর লক্ষ্যমাত্রা ধরা হয়েছে। এই মুহূর্তে বানতলা শিল্পনগরীতে বার্ষিক ২০০ কোটি ডলার অর্থমূল্যের ব্যবসা হয়। ৫ বছরে তা বাড়িয়ে ৬০০ কোটি ডলারে নিয়ে যাওয়ার পরিকল্পনা রয়েছে। এই মুহূর্তে কর্মসংস্থান হয় ৫ লক্ষ মানুষের। আরও ২ লক্ষ কর্মসংস্থানের সুযোগ তৈরী করা হবে।

প্রসঙ্গত, ২৬ তারিখ থেকে বিশ্ব বাংলা কনভেনশন সেন্টারে শুরু হয়েছে ২৩তম ভারত আন্তর্জাতিক চর্মমেলা এবং দ্বিতীয় টেক্স–স্টাইলস। উদ্যোক্তা ইন্ডিয়া ট্রেড প্রোমোশন অর্গানাইজেশন (আইটিপিও)। অংশ নিয়েছে ১৪টি দেশ।

Source: The Statesman

10 major features of Bengal Budget 2018

Bengal Finance Minister Dr Amit Mitra today presented the State Budget for the year 2018-19 at the West Bengal Legislative Assembly.

The Budget laid stress on social welfare as well as employment generation. From farmers to tea garden workers, people with disabilities to women empowerment, there were several major announcements.

Ruposhree and Manobik were two new schemes announced in the Budget today.


Here are the key features of Bengal Budget 2018-19:

  • To provide relief to common people as well as the real estate sector – stamp duty reduced by 1% on properties (rural as well as urban) up to Rs 1 crore. Stamp duty will be reduced to 6% from existing 7%.
  • Tea sector is facing a lot of hardship. They have not been able to recuperate from the problems. In the FY 2018-19 and 2019-20, the Finance Minister proposed to abolish agricultural income tax in tea gardens completely. The Government will also abolish cess on tea industry. Twenty-five lakh tea workers will be benefited.
  • Due to the absence of banks, the economy in rural areas is mostly cash-dependent. Due to demonetisation, the farmers of Bengal faced a lot of hardships. We have already abolished khajna tax on agricultural land. The Government has decided to abolish mutation fee on agriculture also. This will benefit lakhs of farmers.
  • The State has made great strides in agriculture. It has created new records in food-grain production. The State is No. 1 in the production of vegetables, and No. 2 in potato production. To ensure farmers get the right price for their produce, the Government will create a special fund of Rs 100 crore for farmers.
  • The State provides old-age pension to farmers. The Finance Minister proposed to increase the monthly pension from Rs 750 to Rs 1000. The number of beneficiaries will increase from 66,000 farmers to one lakh farmers. Additional 34,000 farmers will hence benefit from this scheme.
  • For the empowerment of girls in Bengal, the Chief Minister launched the Kanyashree scheme. The state spends Rs 1,250 crore per annum for this scheme. This is a great step towards social reform. The annual stipend is proposed to be increased from Rs 750 to Rs 1000. Lakhs of girls will be benefitted.
  • A lot of families face hardship arranging money for the marriage of their daughters. The State wants to stand by these families. Families with annual income less than Rs 1.5 lakh, will get Rs 25,000 to facilitate the marriage of their daughters after they attain the age of 18. This scheme will be called Ruposhree. Rs 1,500 crore allocated for this scheme. Six lakh families will benefit.
  • Persons with 40% disabilities or more will receive a monthly pension of Rs 1,000. The scheme will be called Manobik. Rs 250 crore for this scheme allocated for this scheme.
  • Budget proposal worth Rs 2,14,958.75 crore presented for FY 2018-19.
  • Despite the hurried implementation of GST and demonetisation, the State has created 8,92,000 jobs in the last fiscal year.



২০১৮-১৯ অর্থবর্ষের বাজেটের উল্লেখযোগ্য ১০ টি প্রস্তাব

আজ বিধানসভায় ২০১৮-১৯ অর্থবর্ষের বাজেট পেশ করলেন অর্থমন্ত্রী অমিত মিত্র।

বাজেটে সামাজিক কল্যাণ ও কর্মসংস্থান সৃষ্টি থেকে কৃষক, চা বাগান কর্মী, নারী ক্ষমতায়ন, প্রতিবন্ধী মানুষ সহ সকলের জন্য বেশ কয়েকটি পদক্ষেপ গ্রহণ করা হয়েছে।

আজ বাজেটে ‘মানবিক’ ও  ‘রূপশ্রী’ এই দুই নতুন প্রকল্পের ঘোষণা করলেন অমিত মিত্র।


বাজেটের উল্লেখযোগ্য কিছু প্রস্তাবঃ

  • গৃহ নির্মাণ শিল্পের ক্ষেত্রে ৪০ লক্ষ টাকা থেকে ১ কোটি টাকা অবধি সম্পত্তি মূল্যের ওপর স্ট্যাম্প ডিউটি ১% হারে ছাড় দেওয়ার প্রস্তাব রাখছি। গ্রামাঞ্চলে স্ট্যাম্প ডিউটি বর্তমানে ৬% থেকে কমে ৫% হবে এবং শহরাঞ্চলে ৭% থেকে কমে ৬% হবে। এই সিদ্ধান্তের ফলে সাধারণ মানুষ ও গৃহ নির্মাণ শিল্প বিশেষ ভাবে উপকৃত হবে।
  • ছোট চা বাগান অনেক সমস্যার সম্মুখীন হয়েছে, যার প্রভাব এখনও সম্পূর্ণ কাটেনি। আগামী ২০১৮-১৯ ও ২০১৯-২০ অর্থবর্ষে কৃষি আয়কর সম্পূর্ণ ছাড় দেওয়ার প্রস্তাব রাখছি। এর ফলে ২৫ লক্ষ চা শ্রমিক উপকৃত হবেন। আগামী আর্থিক বছরে চা পাতা উৎপাদনের ওপর সেস মকুব করার প্রস্তাব রাখা হচ্ছে।
  • গ্রামাঞ্চলে ব্যাঙ্কিং পরিষেবার অভাবে কৃষি অর্থনীতি নগদ টাকা লেনদেনের ওপর নির্ভরশীল। নোট বাতিলের সিদ্ধান্তের জন্য কৃষি অর্থনীতি ভেঙে পড়েছে। কৃষকদের প্রদেয় খাজনা মুকুব করা হয়েছে। তাদের আরও আর্থিক সহায়তা দেওয়ার জন্য কৃষিজমি  মিউটেশন ফি মুকুব করার সিদ্ধান্ত নেওয়া হয়েছে। এর ফলে লক্ষ লক্ষ কৃষক ভাইবোনেরা উপকৃত হবে।
  • বিগত ৬ বছরে আমরা কৃষিতে অনেক উন্নতি করেছি। খাদ্যশস্য উৎপাদনে আমরা নতুন নজির গড়েছি। শাক সবজি উৎপাদনে দেশের মধ্যে প্রথম স্থান ও আলু উৎপাদনে দ্বিতীয় স্থান অধিকার করেছে বাংলা। কৃষকরা যাতে দ্রব্যের ন্যায্য মূল্য পান সেজন্য বিশেষ তহবিল গঠন করা হবে। এর জন্য ১০০ কোটি টাকা বরাদ্দ করা হবে।
  • বয়স্ক কৃষক ও তাদের পরিবারের সাহায্যের জন্য রাজ্য বার্ধক্য ভাতা প্রদান করে। বর্তমানে গড়ে ৬৬০০০ কৃষক ভাই-বোনেরা এই প্রকল্পে মাসে ৭৫০ টাকা পেনশন পান। এই পেনশন ৭৫০ থেকে বাড়িয়ে ১০০০ করার প্রস্তাব দেওয়া হচ্ছে। এছাড়া এই ভাতা প্রাপকদের সংখ্যা ৬৬০০০ থেকে বাড়িয়ে ১ লক্ষ করার প্রস্তাব দিচ্ছি। ফলে আরও ৩৪০০০ কৃষক এই পেনশন লাভ করবে।
  • বাংলার মেয়েদের শিক্ষার উন্নতি, প্রশস্তি ও প্রগতির জন্য মুখ্যমন্ত্রীর একান্ত নিজস্ব উদ্যোগে কন্যাশ্রী প্রকল্প এগিয়ে চলেছে। এই প্রকল্পে রাজ্য বছরে ১২০০ কোটি টাকা ব্যয় করে। সমাজ সংস্কার গঠনের ক্ষেত্রে এটি একটি ঐতিহাসিক পদক্ষেপ। কন্যা সন্তানদের শিক্ষা আরও উন্নতির লক্ষ্যে তাদের বার্ষিক বৃত্তির পরিমাণ ৭৫০ টাকা থেকে বাড়িয়ে ১০০০ টাকা করার প্রস্তাব করা হচ্ছে। এর ফলে রাজ্যের লক্ষ লক্ষ মেয়ে উপকৃত হবে।
  • অনেক গরীব পরিবার মেয়ের বিবাহের খরচ জোগাড় করতে অসুবিধায় পড়েন। আমাদের সরকার সেইসব অসহায় পরিবারের পাশে দাঁড়িয়ে তাদের ভার লাঘব করতে অঙ্গীকারবদ্ধ। যে সকল পরিবারের বার্ষিক আয় দেড় লক্ষ টাকার কম তাদের মেয়েদের ১৮ বছর বয়সের পর বিবাহ হলে আরও একাকালীন ২৫০০০ টাকা সহায়তা পাবে। মাননীয়া মুখ্যমন্ত্রীর এই স্বপ্নের প্রকল্পের নাম ‘রূপশ্রী’। এই প্রকল্পের জন্য ১৫০০ কোটি টাকা বরাদ্দ করা হল। এর মাধ্যমে ৬ লক্ষ পরিবার উপকৃত হবে।
  • যাদের প্রতিবন্ধকতা ৪০% বা তার বেশি রয়েছে তাদের মাসে ৭৫০ টাকা পেনশন দেওয়া হয়, এদের কথা ভেবে নতুন পেনশন প্রকল্প চালু করা হল। এই প্রকল্পের নাম ‘মানবিক’। এই প্রকল্পে ২ লক্ষ মানুষকে ১০০০ টাকা মাসিক পেনশন দেওয়া হবে। এই প্রকল্পের জন্য ২৫০ কোটি টাকা বরাদ্দ করা হল। এটি মুখ্যমন্ত্রীর নিজস্ব পরিকল্পনায় সৃষ্টি।
  • ২০১৮-২০১৯ অর্থবর্ষের জন্য ২,১৪,৯৫৮.৭৫ কোটি টাকা বাজেট বরাদ্দের প্রস্তাব করা হয়েছে।
  • মা মাটি মানুষের সার্বিক উন্নয়নের প্রধান লক্ষ্য আরও বেশি কর্মসংস্থান সৃষ্টি। ২০১৭-২০১৮ অর্থবর্ষে পরিকল্পনাহীন ও তাড়াহুড়ো করে চালু করা জিএসটি ও নোট বাতিলের ধাক্কা সত্ত্বেও আমরা রাজ্যে ৮,৯২,০০০ কর্মসংস্থান সুনিশ্চিত করতে পেরেছি।


In Conversation With Dr Amit Mitra

Dr Amit Mitra, Honourable Ministry for Finance, Commerce and Industries, West Bengal Government, in conversation with CNBC TV18 anchor Shereen Bhan

On past BGBS Summits

I think it is important for us to take a look at the three summits that have taken place: 2015, 2016 and 2017. I want to tell you that I am so delighted that close to 50% of the projects proposed are on the ground today. Mamata Banerjee, in fact, speaking in the concluding session, mentioned this specifically, because we are looking at implementation, not of offer only.

I know another State that I don’t want to name, two summits before they had 1.4% of their investment offers fructified. The minute the summit gets over, our entire team and department sits together and every month they have to explain how much of this has been done, and Mamata Banerjee herself takes a meeting every three months, saying, “where are we?” So result of that is, close to 50% of these three summits, this being the fourth has in fact fructified on the ground.

The result of that is that our GDP growth is phenomenally higher than India. Our GDP has more than doubled in 5 years, from 4.5 lakh crore to 10.5 lakh crore. Obviously investment is happening. Keynesian multiplier effect is happening. But we have to take it deeper.

And this year’s summit, as you know, was the creme-de-la-creme. I mean Mukesh Ambani, Lakshmi Mittal, Mr. Jindal, who opened his plant for cement, inaugurated by Mamata Banerjee day before. 2.5 million tons, going to 5 million tons. He said he will double in one year. So that is an example that things are happening.

Does anybody know that 1 billion USD has been invested in a fertilizer plant, the only plant in the world using coal-bed methane, in West Bengal. Rs 7,700 crore on the ground.
On BGBS 2018

There are two elements for this year’s summit which are really interesting. One is, out of the 2.2 lakh crore offered, majority of it is in manufacturing and infrastructure. That means Bengal is rising. It used to be the manufacturing capital of India, competing only with Maharashtra at one point of time. This is very interesting to me, that much more than half, 1.5 lakh crore is in manufacturing and infrastructure, which are asset creating.

The second element of this time’s summit is jobs, jobs and jobs. I mean, imagine, the Kanpur leather people came and signed an MOU and said, “We want to come to Bengal, and we are going to give you 1 lakh jobs”. Now that is something stunning. Mr. Mukesh Ambani said that “I am going to invest 5000 crore and I am going to provide 1 lakh or even more jobs”. Jobs. So labour intensive sectors, whether it is leather, gems and jewellery, whether it is food processing.

So the two elements are: on one hand you are manufacturing, which is the predominant offer of investment. Pranab Adani said,”This is what I am going to do” and Jindal has already done so. So jobs on one hand and manufacturing and infrastructure on the other. This is the winning combination along with the fact that 9 countries became partner countries spontaneously. We have no danda. It has to be spontaneous. China came with a big delegation.
On Bengal’s economic potential

Let me tell you, the export from Bengal in 2016-17 has 8.5 billion USD. Now, quite a bit of that export is an integrative export with the North-East. Bangladesh today is working with us. Nepal, Bhutan. And now the new development in this summit was the fact that from ASEAN the largest industrialists of Thailand, Mr. Aloke Lohia, 7.5 billion USD turnover, was here in this summit.

These are things we have never seen before. Therefore we are reaching into the ASEAN territory for investment reaching into West Bengal which then goes back and exports to us here. So I think things are beginning to move. Now Poland becomes a partner country. Why? They are from outside of this region. Because they have the deepest mines in the world – 1,200 metres deep coal mine and 1,400 metres deep copper mine. We have the world’s second largest coal deposit – at Deocha-Pachami.

So there’s a synergy there. It is not only this region. We are seeing synergies with many Europeans who have come as partner countries, and not just saying in words – Italy, France, Germany Poland, Czech Republic and the UK. A governor from South Korea has come, whose state has the largest steel-producing plant in the world and the largest petrochemical plant in the world. He comes here with a big delegation. Why? Because we are becoming the hubs for these kinds of industries, which would then connect us with the ASEAN countries and everybody else.


ON GST returns

Let me submit to you that I have written a formal letter to the Union Finance Minister, since I couldn’t be there, giving exact details let me tell your listeners that the GST Network was to process 300 crore invoices per month, or 30 billion. Can you imagine that? Now obviously, the system is not working. The small and medium enterprises are not able to uplink. Every state is being compensated by the Centre because they are not being able to reach the 14 per cent rate of growth.

Now West Bengal is doing better, it is being compensated by a small amount because we have completely digitised. So our people could migrate more easily but the small and medium enterprises are in a very bad shape. I had repeatedly said to please not to launch GST on July 1 because you are not prepared. You had done a beta test on 200 companies per state, and 30 per cent of those tests have failed.

Forms… You have GSTR-1, GSTR-2, GSTR-3, and you have GSTR-3b, which is a kind of a small form. So the question is very simple. It is a question of converging them into one. The idea is to converge in a manner that it is uplinked successfully. Why are the states not getting any taxes through GST? Most of their taxes have gone up – some have come down, some have gone up – because it is a complete mess. First you introduce three forms, you fail, then you introduce one single form which is supposed to be good but people are not able to uplink.

Now my question is, is this the way to do the world’s largest fiscal reforms? You do tryst with destiny in the Central Hall of Parliament on July 1 but the systems are not ready. I said repeatedly on July 1. A lot of finance ministers have come privately, including some BJP ministers, saying you are right, let’s fight to see if we can get a better deal for our small and medium enterprises.


On the E-Way Bill

You may be interested to know that West Bengal has an electronic E-Way Bill for which we have no check posts for the last two years – 1 per cent entry tax, self-declared, electronically carrying it with the driver – no checkposts. Now ours is one of the most successful electronic models which you are calling the E-Way Bill. So we don’t have a problem. But do you know the status of the whole of the north-east with respect to the E-Way Bill. At least five larger states don’t have E-Way Bill.

Now look at Bihar. They have checkposts, there were different rates for entry taxes earlier – they have huge corruption, according to their own former Finance Minister who is now the Deputy Chief Minister. He called me up to ask me as to how are you able to manage this in an electronically?

Absolutely, I support the E-Way Bill because we have experimented with it and we are successful. But the problem is that there are many states which are not prepared. Has there been a white paper on that? Has there been a white paper on GST as a whole? At least respect the GST Council and present a white paper, saying that this is the state of things. As far as the E-Way Bill is concerned, we are way ahead of the E-Way Bill.  We are doing it for the last three years. But are all states ready?

February 1 is a good date. But I would say, empower the states to be able to implement it. The, please don’t forget the Inter-State Way Bill, which is supposed to be implemented from June 1. Can you imagine what a mess that can make? Every 20, 30, 40 km, you’ll be stopped and electronically checked – is that a simple system? But at least we have to work towards it. Where is the white paper on that? What will happen to the whole north-east – seven sister states and Sikkim? What would happen to at least five other states whose Finance Minister are telling me we are not yet ready? So we have to work together in the way federalism is talked about by the Centre.


On GST Council Meet

I just said that even without knowing the outcome the returns are in a mess and so I fully understand why they could not come to conclusion, because you have three different forms and then you have a fourth form. Now you cannot uplink 300 crores in a month. The GST is not ready, so you can have a video conference, fine. But are we ready, we have to proceed on this. If you do this on a hurry, on July 1, without knowing what unchartered process you are going into, like demonetisation, unfortunately the revenue of States will suffer, Centre will forced to compensate them as per Constitutional requirements, Centre’s own revenues will be at risk and fiscal deficit will become a challenge for the Centre.


On GST revenue collections 

See, if you look at July, our revenue collections were pretty reasonable, it started coming down, in October it fell to Rs 83,000 crore. Now if you look at the Gujral Committee report to the Parliament, you will find that the Gujral Committee says that even for exports, exporters earlier did not pay any taxes, they just filled the ‘H’ form. Now they have to first pay taxes and the seek refund and do you know that Rs 40 crore per company of the medium sized companies are stuck with the government, not getting refund. So the exports are going to suffer badly.

It has already started and the Gujral Committee report to the Parliament already says October was terrible. And they say from 15% being blocked, if it goes to 20%, you are on danger line and the biggest question your listeners must understand that the minute you cannot get that refund from the government, your working capital goes down and who gets hurt, the contract workers, the job workers. In West Bengal, my Gold job workers have lost their job because the companies are stuck with their refunds with central government. This is terrible.

So it’s going to hurt exports, it’s going to hurt common small businesses. Please do something about that. I’ve written all these in my letter.


On Union Budget 2018-19 

Well, I can only say, that, during this period since demonetisation, your GDP growth rate has fallen, fallen, fallen. Four year’s low. At the same time due to the introduction of GST after demonetisation, we are stumbling. Do you know that gross capital formation grew by 0.59%? That is, investment grew by less than 1%. So what is he going to do in the budget? It is going to be populist budget, because it is the last budget, before the elections. So, let’s give away money and have a problem with the fiscal deficit, revenue deficit issues.


On Govt borrowings

What I’m saying to you is FRBM act, which restricts your borrowing, we as states are sticking to FRBM. Centre does not have any FRBM. It may be saying this today, but you know what happens in reality, you augment borrowing. You announce something, over time you realize you can’t do it, then you start borrowing; you break the FRBM limit because they don’t have FRBM limit but all states do.

I cannot pass my FRBM limit, which is 3% of GDP, but they don’t have any FRBM limit officially passed by legislature. Therefore my concern is, this is show of saying we will borrow less, but when it comes down, I will give my guarantee, and will come back and see in six-seven months times, when we talk again that they are borrowing immensely. The banks are in bad shape you know that. Non Performing Asset levels are very high. So the Union Finance Minister has to handle this- low growth rate, low capital formation, banks in bad shape in terms of NPAs. Where is he going to get the money from? Then you need a populist budget for electoral purpose which means more spending. To me, I would hate to be in his shoes.


On priorities of Bengal Govt

Well I think Mukesh Ambani, Mr. Jindal, Mr Adani they didn’t come to this conference because they had some reason to come excepting for their trust of Mamata Banerjee. Top CEOs have to trust their leader, they have to trust the transparency.

Mukesh Ambani said he intended to invest Rs 4,500 crore in Bengal, but actually invested 15,000 crores. Then he promised Rs 5,000 crore of more investments in the summit. I’m sure if you go by the past records it will grow up to Rs 20,000 crore. Even hand-set manufacturing will be done in West Bengal, he said.

So, what I’m saying to you is our growth rate is much higher than India, our capital formation has grown by 7.5 times, asset creating permanent structures and taxes have doubled, which is record in India because of e-taxation for which the central government has given West Bengal an award 10 days ago. The Union Government gave us an award for e-taxation being number one among 24 states.


We will have to leave at that, Sir. Thank you for your time.