Amit Mitra: Bengal heading towards zero deficit target

Feb 07, 2018, 21:11 IST | PTI

West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Wednesday told the Assembly that the state has been able to exercise more prudence in managing the state's finances compared to the previous Left Front regime

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West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Wednesday told the Assembly that the state has been able to exercise more prudence in managing the state's finances compared to the previous Left Front regime. Speaking at a debate on the state budget, Mitra told the House that in line with Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management, West Bengal is moving towards zero deficit.

He said revenue deficit, compared to the total expenditure of Rs 72,962 crore in 2010-11, was 23 per cent. While in 2016-17, when total expenditure rose to Rs 1.57 lakh crore, revenue deficit was just Rs 16,085 crore, or 10 per cent. Revenue deficit as a percentage of Geoss State Domestic Product (GSDP) reduced in FY17 to 1.62 compared to 3.57 in 2010-11 at the rime the TMC government took over the reins from the Left Front. He, however, did not reply to the opposition parties' demands seeking white paper on investments and job creation as claimed by the TMC government.

Replying to allegations of the opposition that the removal of plan and non-plan expenditure heads in 2018-19 budget was for misleading the public and "siphoning funds" between heads, Mitra said the system was recommended long back by a committee headed by former Reserve Bank Governor C Rangarajan. The committee had called for doing away with distinction between plan and non-plan expenditure for efficient management, Mitra said.

He said although there is no plan and non-plan distinction now, one can still understand plan expenditure which has come under the state development schemes that have been proposed at Rs 80,071 crore, or 23 per cent higher over 2017-18. Meanwhile, supplementary demands of Rs 22,319 crore for the year was passed in a vote after it was opposed by the Left Front and Congress members.

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