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TMC calls assistance to Bengal a ‘bluff’

West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress Saturday slammed the union budget, saying it was “not for the people”. The party also termed as “bluff” the special financial assistance to the state announced in the budget.

“This budget is not for the people, not for the poor and not for the middle class. Lots of talk on giving more to the states, but this is untrue. Last year, gross output to states was 61.88 percent, this year it is 62,” Trinamool’s Rajya Sabha chief whip Derek O’Brien said.

“There is a saying in Bengali: ‘Machher tele Machh Bhaja’ (Frying fish in fish oil). Only hollow talk on federalism. There is a lot of big talk on infrastructure and social development. Big promises... where are the action plan?” asked O’Brien.

The party said the increase in service tax will hurt the middle class and lead to price rise of essential commodities.

Dubbing the budget as “anti-people”, state Finance Minister Amit Mitra called the financial assistance to the state as announced by his union counterpart as “a bluff”.

“There is a talk of a package in the lines of Andhra Pradesh, but we do not know the amount of package or any details.

“The package to Andhra was Rs.850 crore. But the centre deducted Rs.28,000 crore from us towards servicing of debts. So this is a bluff,” said Mitra.

Mitra also said if Prime Minister Narendra Modi agreed to meet, the Trinamool Congress would raise the issue of debt-structuring.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has sought an appointment with Modi to discuss the issue of moratorium of the debt which her government has been seeking since coming to power in 2011.

“The total grant to the state in 2014 was Rs.4,05,582 crore and in this year, it is Rs.3,28,277 crore which is a reduction of 20 percent. The allocations for ICDS has been deducted by 50 percent, National Livelihood Mission decreased by 12 percent. Allocation for Sarva Siksha Abhiyan has been
slashed by 22.14 percent,” said Mitra.

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