Millennium Post

Centre owes Bengal Rs 50,000 cr: Mamata writes to PM Modi

Centre owes Bengal Rs 50,000 cr: Mamata writes to PM Modi

Kolkata: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressing "deep concern" over the "inordinate delay" in releasing Rs 50,000 crore that is due to the Bengal government from the Centre. She urged immediate intervention of the Prime Minister in this regard so that the development projects in the state do not get affected.

Summing up the total dues, she has mentioned in the letter that Bengal has not received Rs 50,000 crore till January 2020 as the state government "is being denied of Rs 11,212 crore of devolution funds from the Centre during the financial year 2019-20 from the Union Budget Estimate presented for 2019-20". The total due amount also includes Rs 36,000 crore for various Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) and Rs 2,406 crore as GST compensation.

The letter also states that Bengal was being denied devolution funds during the financial year 2019-20, causing a "negative impact on the implementation of development schemes in the state".

She has also urged that the Centre releases devolution for the state on the first day of every month, as it used to take place earlier, which has now shifted to the 20th of every month.

Stating that "the constitutionally mandated compensation may kindly be given as soon as it is due otherwise the state treasury cannot be run smoothly", the Chief Minister mentioned in her letter "the release of GST compensation to the state by the Centre has become quite irregular and often delayed for months. The GST compensation due to us for the month of October-November 2019 has just been released in February 2020".

Banerjee has also mentioned that the Centre is yet to release Rs 2330.01 crore to the Bengal government "on account of Special Backward Regions Grant Fund".

Stating that both the Central and the state governments are expected to fulfil the Constitutional obligations and commitments to the people, the Chief Minister mentioned that Bengal "is being deprived of the huge outstanding dues of an amount of Rs 50,000 crore, which the state genuinely deserves". This comes at the time when the state government "has repaid a staggering amount of Rs 3 lakh crore towards debt and interest that was left behind as a legacy by the previous Left Front government".

She further maintained that "it is increasingly being felt that the Central government is relying more and more on cesses and surcharges against taxes over the past five years. It is a matter of concern that while cesses and surcharges constituted 6.17 per cent of the gross tax revenue of the Centre in 2014-15, it has now increased to 18.4 per cent in 2019-20. Since these do not form a part of the kitty of the Central taxes, their devolution to states does not happen. This has become an instrument of reducing the receivables of the state from the Centre".

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