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Mamata blames demonetisation for drop in WB’s revenue earnings

Kolkata: Claiming that “arbitrary decision” of demonetisation was one of the main reasons that led to a 25 per cent drop in the state’s revenue earnings, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today warned that the note recall would lead to a negative GDP growth for India in the next fiscal.

“Our revenues have dropped by 25 per cent due to the arbitrary decision of demonetisation. You will see that in the next fiscal, the GDP of our country may be negative because of this decision,” Banerjee said in a post-Budget press conference.

The state government in its Budget, presented in the Assembly on Friday, allocated Rs 250 crore to provide a one-time grant to 50,000 skilled workers who had to return home from different parts of the country after they lost their jobs in the aftermath of demonetisation.

Pointing out that farmers have not been able to sow crops due to demonetisation, Banerjee also referred to a special assistance fund of Rs 100 crore for them.

The Chief Minister said demonetisation brought about a “slowdown” and “recession”, but the Bengal government was trying to continue with the social security schemes.

“Ours is the best Budget. Other states have more resources, but such a ‘humane’ Budget has not been presented by any one,” she claimed.

Mamata also spoke of the state’s huge debt burden, which she blamed on the erstwhile Left Front government, urging the Centre to rethink about restructuring it.

“We had proposed a debt restructuring commission. A political party may come and go but the government keeps functioning. None of the central governments, neither the UPA or the NDA, have supported us on debt restructuring. It should be remembered that everything functions on the principle of give and take,” she said.

On GST, Banerjee said the TMC in principle is in support of GST, but there are four priority issues which need to be addressed first.

First, the common man should benefit under GST; second, smaller business should come under GST; third, the states should get enough compensation in case of revenue loss under GST and finally, the fiscal autonomy of the state should not be diluted, she said.

PTI