PM promises Mamata full cooperation, remains non-committal on debt waiver
In a back-to-back meeting, Prime Minister Modi is believed to have assured Banerjee that West Bengal will get all “due attention” but stopped short of giving any assurance on the state’s debt burden.
Around 12.42 pm, Banerjee along with state finance minister Amit Mitra and a delegation of party MPs met Modi at the Parliament library. She asked for financial assistance to ease the state’s debt burden and sought his intervention in several pending projects due to non-release of funds by the Centre.
She sought his attention in rescheduling the 10-year State Development Loan (SDL) so that it could be paid back over a period of 15 to 20 years with a three-year interest moratorium. The PM, however, remained non committal on the matter. The meeting ended at around 1.06 pm. The two leaders thereafter had a one-to-one meeting, the contents of which, were not revealed by her party.
Sources said, Modi asked Banerjee to have faith in his government and claimed that her state would benefit from the auction of coal blocks and the clean Ganga campaign. “Have trust on us. I am happy with the performance of West Bengal and will help the state as much as we can,” Modi told Banerjee. Speaking to media persons, Banerjee said, “We apprised PM of the economic situation in our state and urged him to waive the debt off for development work. He acknowledged that the debt is indeed the highest in Bengal, but despite that, financial management and development have been carried out well.”
On the context of the Centre’s policies, the CM said, “I informed him that for 100 days of work, food procurement and Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), we are entitled to get funds from the Centre, but unfortunately funds are yet to reach Bengal. On pending Metro Rail projects, he assured his intervention.”
In the 14th Finance Commission, Bengal placed a proposal demanding Rs 255,000 crore for five years (2015-20) to improve the state’s physical and social infrastructure and to take up various developmental works. So far, Rs 77,000 crore (approx) have been repaid to the Centre after Trinamool Congress came to power in May 2011. The other demands raised by Banerjee during the meeting were: Additional Rs 1000 crore for Right to Food Security Act, Rs 2000 crore for 100-days work under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act, Rs 4000 for Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, etc.