Bengal asks Centre to release Rs 5,013 crore as per revenue deficit grant provided by Finance Commission

Economy


New Delhi: West Bengal has asked the Centre to release Rs 5,013 crore as the revenue deficit grant provided by the 15th Finance Commission to the state, which it can use to tackle the Covid-19 crisis.

It also sought more measures to ease its financial position since state-specific revenue streams had dried up due to the nationwide lockdown.

West Bengal finance minister Amit Mitra wrote to Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and reiterated demands to ease the fiscal deficit limit under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act to 5% from 3% for the ongoing financial year, release pending goods and service tax compensation and allow states to use interest accruing to the Consolidated Sinking Fund, besides a moratorium on loan payments.

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“I urge that the above proposals may be urgently put in place so that the state has some resources to fight the menace of Covid-19 and implement welfare measures for the people, especially poor farmers, unorganised workers and SMEs, who among others have been badly impacted,” Mitra said in a letter to Sitharaman dated April 6, seen by ET.

The letter follows similar demands by states such as Punjab and Rajasthan.

Mitra said demands to beef up the financial positions of the Central and state governments to fight the ongoing calamity continue to be unmet and added that the first instalment of Rs 417 crore to West Bengal for April was not sufficient.

“This is most disappointing, if not shocking, at this critical hour of need to fight Covid-19 and disburse committed expenditures,” he said.

He added that the Centre should release the advance grant for April, May and June in three instalments of Rs 1,671 crore each.



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