Having failed to get the Centre to accept her demand for a three-year moratorium on repayment of interests on loans accrued by past State governments, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said here on Monday that it should allow the States to collect Central taxes and use the amount to finance their own development activities.
“Let the State governments collect all the taxes. If the State government collects all the taxes, then there will be no problem,” she said while addressing members of the student and the youth wings of the Trinamool Congress.
Criticising certain Ministers of the Manmohan Singh government who claim that Central schemes are being funded by the Centre, Ms. Banerjee said that the money with the Centre was a sum of its collections from the States.
“The money does not come from anyone’s pocket. The funds which the Centre allocates to the State governments is collected as taxes from the States,” she said, adding that of the overall taxes collected by the Centre, only 32 per cent is given to the State governments. West Bengal’s share is about 2.5 per cent, she added.
Despite collecting money from the States, every day there is a hike in diesel prices and the subsidy on fertilizers lifted, Ms. Banerjee said.
Reiterating that while the revenue generated by the State Government is Rs. 21,000 crore and the Centre deducted Rs. 26,0000 crore from the State exchequer annually, Ms. Banerjee said if the State Government was allowed to collect all the taxes, “we will show you what rural development is about.”
“We do even have enough money to pay salaries to State Government employees,” she said, adding that they were being paid from non-Plan budgetary funds.
Ms. Banerjee claimed that the Centre had deducted more money from the State Government’s earnings last year on the ground that it was going to implement the Food Security Bill.
“In the Budget before the elections, we will see various other promises though they may not be always implemented …. Not all are as transparent as us,” Ms. Banerjee said.
Ms. Banerjee said that Trinamool Congress is the only political party whose members have resigned from the Union Council of Ministers — that she likened to a “torn shoe” — keeping in mind the interests of the people.