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.

Bengal’s debt conditions improve under Trinamool

West Bengal’s public finance and debt conditions were under adverse conditions when Mamata Banerjee took over the Government. However under the leadership of Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister of West Bengal and Amit Mitra, Finance Minister of West Bengal along with a dedicated teams of officials the situation has improved in the last 3 years.

Note: Figures for 2012-13 are Revised Estimates and for 2013-14 are Budget Estimates. The averages used in the RBI Publication include the estimates.

In the RBI publication “State Finances-Study of Budgets 2013-14”, the ‘Debt Sustainability Indicators’ and ‘Debt Servicing Indicators’ have improved  for Bengal.  The results are here for everyone to see:

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The Debt-GSDP ratio was 44% in 2008-09 and 2009-10 has decreased sharply over the years. It stands at 40.1% in 2011-12, 37.5% in 2012-13 and at 34.6% at 2013-14.

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Interest payment to GSDP ratio has fallen down from 3.8% (2005-06 to 2009-10) to 2.8% (2010-11 to 2013-14).

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Interest payment to revenue receipts has also decreased from 37.9% (2005-06 to 2009-10) to 25.8% (2010-11 to 2013-14). Revenue receipts means the taxes, duties and fees levied by the government and also includes interests on investments made by the government or dividends earned by the state.

economy files

The growth of GSDP (g) is higher than the effective rate of interest (i), ie g-i >0. In WB, g-i, is now at 8.3(2010-11 to 2013-14) and has increased from 4.6 (2005-06 to 2009-10).  If GSDP grows at a higher rate than the effective rate of interest, then it reflects a better situation of public finance. The surplus has grown sharply over the years.