₹3.21 lakh crore State Budget presented in West Bengal

Focus on social sector schemes; exemptions for electric and CNG vehicles

March 11, 2022 06:40 pm | Updated 06:40 pm IST

West Bengal Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya tabled the State Budget 2022-23 in the Assembly in Kolkata on March 11

West Bengal Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya tabled the State Budget 2022-23 in the Assembly in Kolkata on March 11 | Photo Credit: PTI

West Bengal Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya on Friday presented a ₹3.21-lakh crore budget for the financial year 2022-23 with a focus on the social sector schemes. The Budget proposed an exemption on registration fee and road taxes for two years from the financial year 2022-23 for battery operated electric vehicles and CNG (compressed natural gas) vehicles. Ms. Bhattacharya said that the initiative sought to reduce dependence on petrol and diesel, and incentivise the reduction of carbon footprints. 

In an attempt to provide relief to the tea industry, the Budget exempted rural employment cess, education cess, and agricultural income tax for the financial year 2022-23. The State government has decided to extend till September 30, 2022 the exemption of 2% rebate on stamp duty and 10% rebate on the circle rate of land/property for home buyers that was introduced in the year 2021-22.

On social sector schemes, the West Bengal Government has decided to increase the cover of beneficiaries under the widow pension scheme from 13 lakh lakh beneficiaries to 21 lakh beneficiaries, and allocated an additional ₹960 crore for this in the Budget. Under the ‘Lakshmir Bhandar’ cash transfer scheme, the number of women beneficiaries who are assured monthly income benefit has increased to 1.53 crore, with an annual financial outlay of ₹10,000 crore.  In addition to this, the State government is providing social pensions to more than 70 lakh beneficiaries with an annual outlay of ₹9,000 crore, the Finance Minister pointed out.

In her Budget Speech, Ms. Bhattacharya said that the State government will be able to create 1.20 crore new payment opportunities in the next four years in government, private, and other sectors, including self-employment. Speaking of the initiatives taken by the West Bengal Government for the promotion of industrial development in the State, Ms. Bhattacharya highlighted the Deocha Pachami coal block, which she said would lead to rapid industrialisation and huge employment opportunities.

During the Budget presentation, legislators of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started protesting and walked out of the House. Leader of Opposition Suvendu Adhikari said that the State government was changing the name of several Centre-sponsored schemes and misleading the people of the State by claiming that that these schemes were run by the State government. “This is not a Budget to protect the interests of the people of the State. It is full of lies and is a political leaflet of the Trinamool Congress,” Mr. Adhikari said.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee reacted strongly to the BJP’s protest and added that she had “never seen such an attitude of the Opposition, where they cannot extend basic courtesy when Budget is tabled in the House”. Ms. Banerjee said the State is owed about ₹90,000 crore from the Centre and pointed out that Centre had not released funds to the State after several natural disasters and cyclones. She said the Centre collected funds through Income Tax and GST (Goods and Services Tax), and only 40-45% of it was returned to the States through allocation in different schemes.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.