Five years of Poriborton in Bengal

May 13, 2011. The date will forever be etched in history, thanks to Didi.

The 34-year old Left `citadel` in Bengal was converted to rubble. The mandate of Ma, Mati, Manush prevailed over the Red brigade.

Four years of running a cash-strapped Government is an inhuman job. West Bengal Chief Minister Ms. Mamata Banerjee has proved to be much more than ordinary. Although a lion`s share of the State`s revenue is being taken away by the Centre as instalments for the debt incurred by the Left regime, with repeated requests of a debt moratorium falling onto the deaf ears of the Centre, West Bengal has carried out development in every sector in the State. Unthinkable, yet true.

What has the Government achieved in these four years? Democracy, peace and progress. Mamata Banerjee has given aconfidence to the people. There is hope in the air that Bengal can be the best.And Bengal has proven it. From fair price medicine shops to the Kanyashree scheme,from 100 Days’ Work Scheme to Jangalmahal, Bengal is a national model.

Four years ago, we had little to boastabout. Now we can boast about Brand Bengal – Biswa Bangla. Trinamool raised the slogan bodla noy, bodol chai and lived up to the principle in the last four years.

Mamata Banerjee has changed the work culture of the West Bengal Government. She did something that was unthinkable. She shifted the State Secretariat from Writers` Buildings to Nabanna (in Howrah). She set up a branch secretariat – Uttarkanya in Siliguri, North Bengal. She conducted over 80 administrative meetings at block level in four years, thus demonstrating how power can be decentralised from Kolkata to the districts.

As the old song goes-

It takes courage to answer a call,

It takes courage to lose your all,

It takes courage to risk your name,

It takes courage to be true.

It takes courage to dare,

Onethat no will share;

To bestanding alone,

One whom no one will own;

To beready to stake for another one’s sake,

It takes courage to be true.

WB Govt paid Rs 76000 Cr on debt servicing, a legacy of Left: Amit Mitra

West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra said that in the last four years, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government had to spend Rs 76,000 crore on debt servicing, a legacy of the erstwhile Left government.

In real terms, the present government has taken only Rs 6,000 crore loans in the last four years, which was a very meagre amount compared to the previous government, he said.

The Chief Minister, Ms Mamata Banerjee has maintained that she inherited a huge debt left behind by the erstwhile Left government.

Dr Mitra explained how the state government had been able to multiply expenses in the sectors like social infrastructure, development of physical infrastructure, state plan expenses and capital expenditure.

The government has been able to raise the growth of Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) above 5 per cent successively in the last four years of TMC rule as against below 5 per cent registered by the previous Left regime.

West Bengal’s debt repayment burden to multiply: Amit Mitra

West Bengal’s annual debt repayment burden would grow sharply in coming years as maturity dates of the loans taken by the previous Left Front government were drawing closer, state Finance Minister Amit Mitra said.

Replying during the Question Hour in the Assembly, Mitra said during 2015-16, the debt repayment amount would be Rs 8,877 crore, which is set to rise to Rs 9,781 crore in the next financial year.

In 2017-18, the amount would multiply to reach Rs 18,359 crore which, he said, would be a great burden on the state, Mitra said. According to him, this will happen as ten, 12 and 15 years loan were going to mature.

Mitra said that the state government was making provisions towards this and also by sticking to fiscal and revenue discipline. He said that one silver lining was that the state GDP was rising at a rapid pace while the debt/GSDP ratio was falling.

Attacking the Left Front, Mitra said that the loan burden as on March, 2015 as per revised estimates was Rs 2.74 lakh crore. When the Trinamool Congress came to power in May, 2011, the inherited debt was close to Rs 2 lakh crore.

In the first four years of TMC rule, the debt increased by Rs 82,946 crore, out of which Rs 76,346 crore were spent towards interest and principal repayment.

During the four years from 2011, the ruling government had borrowed only Rs 6,617 crore which was used for its own spending, Mitra said.

Pointing out that West Bengal was caught in a debt trap, Mitra said that he and the chief minister have discussed the matter with the UPA government and the present NDA government for amortisation of the debt repayment schedule, but there was no positive outcome from either of them.

The UPA government offered $10 billion to the IMF for tackling the Eurozone crisis, but ignored the cry of a federal state which was in deep distress, he regretted. He also accused the Left Front of breaching the borrowing limit under FRBM Act.

We will fight for our rights: WB CM

West Bengal CM Ms Mamata Banerjee addressed a press conference at Nabanna today. She spoke on the issue of long pending debt stress the State has been in. In the last 3 years, the Centre has deducted more than Rs 1 lakh Crore as interest for loans taken by the previous Government.

She also spoke regarding the situation of potato cultivation in the State.

Highlights of the press conference:

  • Our Government came to power after 34 years of CPM rule with the blessings and good wishes of people
  • Rs 1.5 lakh Crore has been taken away from our treasury due to sins of previous Government
  • How will we work if funds are reduced this way? No one else is facing the problem except us
  • Kerala and Punjab have been relieved of their debt burden, but we did not get any such relief
  • In the 5 year life of this Government, we have waited for 3 years. Now our patience has run out
  • We will now take it upon ourselves to attain what we deserve
  • In spite of problems we did not pass the burden on to the people
  • No salary or pension was withheld
  • State is buying 50,000 MT potatoes, which will be sent for Midday meal Scheme. The state is taking many steps to address the potato crisis
  • Subsidy worth Rs 10 Crore will be given to the farmers. The target of potato export is 2 lakh MT this year

Derek O’Brien makes a Special Mention on relief of debt stressed states | Transcript

Full transcript:

There is no denying the fact that my State West Bengal is suffering from huge debt burden since 2004 – 2005, according to the Government records. An office memorandum of the Finance Commission dated October 24, 2005 in which 11 States including Kerala, Punjab and West Bengal were included, in the indicative list of debt-stressed States.

The current West Bengal Government has inherited from the previous Government, which ruled West Bengal for 34 long years, a sum of Rs 2,03,000 crore as the debt burden.

From day one, our Hon’ble Chief Minister has made repeated appeals, to the Central Government to kindly consider the request of a temporary relief, interim relief in the form of moratorium on the principal amount as well as restructuring of the interest amount.

In the report of the 14th Finance Commission, there is no mention of any moratorium. The grant-in-aid announced is like a single drop in an ocean. Sir, through you I want to request the government that the demand of West Bengal about the debt burden, along with other debt-stressed states, should be considered in right earnest and in the right perspective.