Mamata Banerjee Strongly Criticises Centre For ‘Increasing Tax Burden’

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Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday hit out at the Centre for “increasing tax burden” on people and making Aadhaar card mandatory for getting benefit of government schemes.

Ms Banerjee said expenses were increasing for the people by means of service tax and cess. Even the bill for mediclaim has increased from Rs. 17,000 to Rs. 30,000, she said and criticised the Centre for Aadhaar cards, saying that 20-30 per cent people still did not have the cards. She said poor people would be deprived of the benefits and money from government schemes if they don’t have the card.

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After the first administrative review meeting of the new government, Ms Banerjee said she had given instructions to restart all development work which had remained stalled for the last few months due to the Assembly polls. In the last financial year 2015-16, the state plan expenditure budget was Rs. 49,507 crore but the actual expenditure was Rs. 53,010 crore.

“In other states the total amount of planned expenditure funds is not spent but we exceeded by 15 per cent,” she said, adding there is no such instance of actual plan expenditure surpassing the budgeted figure in the last 20 years. For the new financial year 2016-17, the finance department has released Rs. 11,573 crore for which directions were issued to take steps for their immediate utilisation.

In 2010-11, the plan expenditure was around Rs. 14,000 crore which has increased by nearly four times to Rs. 53,010 crore now. Moreover, the budgeted figure of Rs. 49,507 crore was itself higher than the actual of previous year i.e. Rs. 39,444 crore by over 25 per cent. The budgeted figure is projected higher than the actual of the previous year to target a higher growth trajectory for overall growth. By achieving the state plan expenditure of Rs. 53,010 crore, the state has achieved a year-on-year growth of nearly 35 per cent from the previous year’s expenditure of Rs. 39,444 crore.

In the wake of Vivekananda flyover collapse in which 26 people were killed on March 31, officials said instructions have been issued on condition-monitoring of bridges, flyovers, etc which has to be done meticulously and on a priority basis. On health issues, the chief minister said two districts of Uttar Dinajpur and Malda are lagging behind in institutional delivery. State Power Minister Sovandeb Chatterjee said the state-run West Bengal State Electricity Distribution Company Limited has launched a new mobile app for payment of bills. “By 2016 all government offices should be running on solar power and by this year we want to achieve 100 per cent rural electrification,” he said.

PTI

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