Bengal logs +ve GDP growth in pandemic-hit 2020-21

Bengal logs +ve GDP growth in pandemic-hit 2020-21

Kolkata: Setting a new record, Bengal has come up as the country's second-best state to achieve a positive GDP growth with Rs 13.7 lakh crore GSDP based on the robust economic policy of the Mamata Banerjee government giving equal stress to life and livelihood when the economy had nosedived in 2020-21 due to Covid.

Taking a stand of emphasising demand stimulus policy by ensuring cash flow in the hands of masses at the time of economic slowdown, Bengal witnessed a positive 1.2 percent growth in Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) when the same for the country was "minus 7.7 percent".

The state's economic policy has also received the Niti Aayog's appreciation as one of the Eastern Indian states to ensure a positive GDP growth rate in the pandemic year of 2020-21.

Bengal is one of the few states to ensure Rs 10 lakh crore GSDP after Tamil Nadu (with above 2 percent positive GSDP growth). Again, the Trinamool Congress governed Bengal's GSDP was the highest in 2020-21 among all eastern states followed by Bihar with nearly half that of Bengal. Bihar's GSDP stood at Rs 7.6 lakh crore. Moreover, Bengal has come up as the fourth largest state in terms of the net value added in the country as per the RBI.

According to Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant, Bengal is one of the few states that came up with a positive GDP growth in the 2020-21 fiscal when the country registered a negative growth of 7.7 percent. He also stated about the better performance of the eastern and north-eastern states in ensuring the country's highest GDP growth between 2015 and 2020.

With the state government's demand-led financial packages giving a boost to the economy amidst the pandemic, the Mamata Banerjee government has walked on the path of stressing social sector expenditure in its first budget after coming to power for the third consecutive term.

The Chief Minister had opined after the Budget was laid that her government wants adequate cash flow for the masses to boost their expenditure capacity. The state government had allocated 58.26 percent of its budget for social service expenditure and 26.29 percent for agriculture and its allied sector.

This comes when the state's revenue collection increased 2.9 times, expenditure in physical infrastructure increased by 3.9 times, expenditure in agriculture and allied sectors rose by 6.1 times and in the social sector by 5.6 times.

Explaining the reason behind the increase in GSDP in Bengal by 1.2 percent despite the pandemic situation, state Finance minister Amit Mitra had maintained: "Unlike the Centre, the state has given stress to macroeconomics. We repeatedly requested the Centre to go for a demand stimulation policy. But they did not pay heed to the suggestions. In Bengal, it has been done by increasing social sector expenditure that ensured enhancement of people's procurement capacity. As a result, the GSDP has increased."

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