CM to press for early release of dues from Centre during meet with PM

CM to press for early release of dues from Centre during meet with PM

KOLKATA: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will raise the issue related to Bengal's dues—that the Centre owes to the state—with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during her visit to Delhi.

Banerjee will set out on a three-day tour to Delhi on November 22 during which she will meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Issues, including the Centre's decision of extending BSF's jurisdiction and abnormal hike in the prices of petrol and diesel, are going to come up in the meeting.

According to the sources, the state's dues that the Centre is yet to clear is going to be another key area that will come up strongly in the meeting between the Prime Minister and the Chief Minister.

With the Centre increasing the cess and surcharge, besides bringing down the excise duty is affecting the state governments. None of the state governments get the share of cess. In 2011-12, the Centre's cess collection was Rs 92,537 crore.

The same has increased to Rs 4.51 lakh crore in 2020-21. At the same time, the demand for increasing the unconditional lending capacity to 5 per cent fell on deaf ears and it has been kept at 3.5 per cent only.

This comes when the Centre is also not releasing its share of funds for many schemes. The Chief Minister is likely to strongly place the demand of clearing the dues at the earliest when the state has faced the double whammy of Covid and Yaas.

Even the state is yet to get the compensation—that it is supposed to get from the Centre—despite all reports in connection with the damages caused by the natural calamities being sent to the Centre.

Sources in the state Secretariat have stated that Bengal is also receiving less than its legitimate share of the pan-India tax collection. It was Rs 10 crore less in 2019. But it went up to Rs 14 crore in the 2020-21 financial year.

Sources said the state Agriculture department is also preparing a detailed report on the losses incurred by farmers due to the recent natural calamities. The state Agriculture department will submit the compiled report by Saturday that comes just ahead of Banerjee's visit to Delhi.

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