February 26, 2015 1:24:45 am
In the first such move after BJP formed government at Centre, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday sought an appointment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi to seek a waiver of the huge debt burden that her government inherited from the previous Left Front regime in West Bengal .
“I have written to the Prime Minister to consider waiver of the debt burden on us immediately. I have sought an appointment to meet him along with a delegation of my MPs to discuss the issue,” Mamata said in a Facebook post.
It is being seen as major climb down by Mamata who has remained a vehement critic of Modi and his policies. She skipped all the meetings called by the Prime Minister. West Bengal often went unrepresented in such Centre-state meetings —- the last being the first governing council meeting of NITI Aayog on February 8 where chief ministers of all other states were present.
Mamata’s move to seek appointment with Modi comes a day after the Fourteenth Finance Commission recommended a 10 per cent jump in the devolution of tax revenues to states to 42 per cent —- a demand Mamata had kept raising in the past. The Centre’s move will give a major windfall to the debt-burdened state.
“We have long been pursuing with the central government for waiver of the huge debt burden left upon us by the previous government in West Bengal. We have waited for more than three-and-a-half years with no results,” Mamata said in the Facebook post, adding that the deduction of about Rs 28,000 crore every year towards debt taken by the previous government has been increasing. “No other state in the country is as ‘debt-stressed’ as West Bengal because of the gross misrule of the previous Left Front Government for long 34 years. Our state needs immediate relief from the debt burden, so that growth and development efforts continue unhindered,” she said.
As per Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s announcement on Tuesday, West Bengal government has received around Rs 12,000 crore as grant-in-aid from the Centre as per the recommendations of the the Fourteenth Finance Commission. This grant-in-aid will be released to the state in several phases over next couple of years . While this will help her government in pursuing development work, Mamata is insisting on a moratorium on repayment of loan.
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