State has seen finances improve despite huge burden inherited from Left Front govt: Mitra

Kolkata: State Finance and Industry minister Amit Mitra placed statistics, highlighting the improvement in the last seven years with regards to the economic and financial parameters of Bengal. The turnaround, according to Mitra, has occurred even after a huge debt burden left by the previous Left Front regime in the state.

In response to a query from Congress MLA Asit Mitra at the state Assembly, the state Finance minister pointed out that the debt and GSDP (gross state domestic product) ratio has actually gone down by almost 5 percent in seven years from 2010-11 to 2017-18.

"The ratio was 40.65 percent in 2010-11, from which it has gone down to 35.63 percent. The revenue deficit to GSDP has also dropped from 3.75 percent in 2010-11 to 0.96 percent in the 17-18 fiscal. The fiscal deficit has also halved during this period, to 2.83 percent from 4.24 percent," Mitra said.

According to Mitra, the Left Front government's huge loan had been caused by their inability in implementing the Financial Regulation and Budget Management Act (FRBM). "Bengal had also lost grant of the 12th and 13th finance commission because of this and the Left Front had left a loan of Rs 1,91,835 crore," Mitra maintained, adding that for repayment of the loan the state had to borrow Rs 1,53,741 crore, taking the total loan to Rs 3,45, 577 crore.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee also pointed out that the Left had not acted correctly in taking loan from small savings.

"Loan from small savings is always an area of concern as it involves common people's money. They did not sign FRBM and took loan from small savings, which is not right," she added.

According to Mitra, the present government is in a debt trap because of the previous Left Front government. "We have increased the revenue through fiscal discipline and e-governance, but still we are compelled to pay a huge amount because of the loan taken by the previous government," he said, adding that the state has a debt repayment burden of Rs 47,000 crore in the current fiscal.

Mitra asserted that the planned expenditure has grown over 5 fold from Rs 11,837 crore in 2011-12 to 56,604 crore in 2017-18. The capital expenditure has grown over 8 fold from Rs 2,225 crore in 2011 to 19,368 crore in 2017-18.

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