Millennium Post

Bengal FY17 budget promises 22 lakh jobs, no new taxes

State Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Friday placed a full-fledged budget for 2016-17, proposing a 9.1 per cent rise in tax collection against the revised figure of 2015-16. In the budget for 2016-17, state finance minister Amit Mitra proposed a tax revenue of Rs 50,773 crore as against Rs 42,919 crore achieved in 2015-16.

The budgeted figure for 2015-16 stood at Rs 46,496 crore. There has been no provision made for additional revenue generation for the current fiscal. Presenting the budget with a size of Rs 1,29,530 crore for the financial year, Mitra said the focus areas are social infrastructure, MSME and 
capital expenditure.

Plan expenditure has been raised from Rs 49,000 crore to Rs 53,000 crore. The budget has allocated Rs 200 crore to support higher education among lower income groups and Rs 100 crore for setting up virtual classrooms in the government-aided schools and colleges. Budgetary allocation for rural development and panchayat departments has also been raised to over Rs 10,000 crore.

Mitra in his speech said that during the last financial year, 20 lakh new employment opportunities had been created in the state. The finance minister said the state government had achieved new milestones in the first five years of Trinamool Congress led government despite inheriting the legacy of a massive debt burden.

He said the achievements in different areas of public governance had set new benchmarks in the country. Many other states were taking a leaf out of initiatives like Kanyashree, Sabuj Sathi, Khadyasathi, fair price medicine shops and e governance in finance and taxation. Mitra said noted economist Jean Dreze who has co authored some important books with Professor Amartya Sen on Khadya Sathi (Public distribution system) in six states has observed “We were quite curious about Bengal as there was no detailed story about PDS in Bengal –  we were happily surprised to find out that it is working pretty well. PDS was really bad in Bengal, but it is certainly (doing) enormously well now. Exclusion errors were also relatively few.”

Mitra said the MSME sector had generated maximum employment. The sector has maximum labour output elasticity and is hugely labour intensive. There has been a phenomenal growth in MSME sector in the last five years to the tune of Rs 1,00,939 crore. This credit growth is the highest in the country.
In the past five years to provide better public services, new departments had been created for North Bengal development, tribal development, child development and sericulture, he added.
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