Welfare plans, subsidies dominate Bengal budget
The announcements drew sharp criticism from opposition parties, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) describing it as a “fairy tale budget.”Updated: Feb 11, 2020 04:25 IST
West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra on Monday announced an array of new welfare schemes and subsidies in the second Trinamool Congress government’s last full-budget before the crucial 2021 assembly polls.
Mitra did not announce any allocation for revision of salary and pension of state government employees and college teachers in accordance with the recommendations of Pay Commission.
The announcements drew sharp criticism from opposition parties, with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) describing it as a “fairy tale budget.”
Presenting a Rs 2, 55, 677-crore budget that marked an 18% rise in planned expenditure over last year, Mitra offered new subsidies and schemes for all sections, starting from unemployed youths and backward classes to homeless tea garden workers. He also mentioned in his speech that the state already faced a loan burden of more than Rs 50,000 crore.
The major announcements included Rs 500 crore allocation for social security for 15-million backward class families and Rs 2,500 crore for a monthly old age pension of Rs 1,000 each for 21,00,000 members of the scheduled caste communities. Mitra announced another Rs 500 crore for similar schemes for members of the scheduled tribes.
The budget includes Rs 100 crore towards support for new medium and small industries and Rs 500 crore towards loan and subsidies to be offered to unemployed youths for setting up projects costing up to Rs 2 lakh.
“Economic growth is meaningless without employment. While unemployment rate in the country is on the rise, Bengal has created 9.11 lakh jobs in 2019-2020,” said Mitra.
“This is a fairy tale budget having no relation with ground reality. The budget talks of Rs 4,00,000 crore worth of new industrial investment but where is the resource and infrastructure for that? Mitra announced new public welfare schemes but did not mention where the money would come from,” said Sayantan Basu, BJP state general secretary.