'Centre's claim of 31% GDP growth in Sept-end does not match present scenario'

Kolkata: Highlighting that the emphasis on demand stimulus has helped Bengal's economy to grow better, Minister of State for Finance Chandrima Bhattacharya protested against the Centre's policies that pose as hindrances to the country's proper economic growth in the meeting with Union Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Monday.

This is the first time when Sitharaman held a meeting with Finance ministers of all states over infrastructure and industrial growth since the economy started rolling after a nosedive due to the Covid pandemic.

Bhattacharya has put forward a series of issues starting from hefty collecting of cess and surcharge on petroleum products when excise duty has been reduced to the dues that the Centre is yet to clear to the state.

West Bengal's opportunity to speak in the meeting, which started at 3 pm, came in the end at later in the evening. As a result, the state's time to speak was reduced to 3 minutes. Bhattacharya upped the ante and maintained that it is not possible to give a presentation on Bengal's economic situation in mere three minutes. As a result, the Centre had to give requisite time to the Minister of State for Finance.

Bhattacharya stated in the meeting that the Centre's claim of 31 percent GDP growth in September end does not match the present scenario as consumer price index has increased by 4.4 percent in the month of October. Migrant workers are also not getting jobs. Though the GDP growth in the last fiscal was 24.1 percent, it was 20.1 percent in the first quarter of the current fiscal. The GSDP that was more than Rs 35 lakh crore in 2019-20 has dropped to Rs 32.60 lakh crore in the first quarter of the current fiscal and it is 21.22 percent in the second quarter, which is 12 percent less.

The cess collection of the Centre in 2011-12 fiscal was Rs 92,537 crore. Now, it has increased to more than Rs 4.51 lakh crore. The unemployment rate is also a major concern.

The personal consumption capacity is much less than that of in 2019. Bhattacharya said an emphasis on demand stimulus is needed in such a time by ensuring cash flow in the hands of masses instead of tall talks on economic revival for political mileage.

She even stated that the state is also not getting its dues when the Bengal government has left no stone unturned to ensure cash flow in the hands of the people up to the grassroots level by introducing schemes like Lakshmir Bhandar, Krishak Bandhu and Kanyashree.

The GDP of the state has improved by 12.62 percent in 2020-21 fiscal compared to that of in 2015-16. Bengal is in number one position in Net Capita growth. The state GDP has increased by 1.6 percent when the same for the country has gone down by 7.3 percent. The state expects 11.45 percent growth GDP in 2020-21.

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