In her first official engagement with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee extended her help to implement the Indo-Bangladesh Land Border Agreement and took a positive approach on inking the Teesta water pact.
Mamata’s first exclusive meeting with Modi, nine months after the new government came to power, lasted for almost half-an-hour.
The PM is expected to go to Bangladesh this year and the signing of the Teesta accord — to share its water with Bangladesh — is expected to boost bilateral ties tremendously.
The meet was followed by delegation-level talks between the PM and his officials, and Mamata’s 40-member team comprising mostly of party MPs. Over here she brought up an appeal for debt and interest relief, arguing that she had inherited the loan burden from the Left government.
While not committing to any debt relief, the PM pointed out to the recent “unprecedented” increase in states’ shares in central taxes from 32% to 42%.
The PM also pointed out that the Union government has decided to give West Bengal the royalty on coal and other minerals, which would provide additional revenue of almost `1,600 crore to the state annually. “West Bengal will get `11,200 crore from the coal blocks that have been auctioned so far,” said a press release from the prime minister’s office.
Modi to embark on 5-day tour tomorrow.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi will embark on a five-day visit to Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka Tuesday. Amid speculation this was an effort to counter Chinese influence, Delhi was quick to caution that relations with these states were historical and based on people to people ties. He will be the first Indian PM to pay a bilateral visit to Sri Lanka in 28 years when he arrives in Colombo on March 13. He is scheduled to meet top leaders in the country and address parliament.