Other States

West Bengal budget | Pension for SCs and STs, free electricity for the poor in Bengal Budget

Amit Mitra,Finance Minister ,West Bengal. File

Amit Mitra,Finance Minister ,West Bengal. File   | Photo Credit: Kamal Narang

In his Budget speech, State Finance Minister Amit Mitra announced free electricity for consumers with quarterly consumption up to 75 units

A year before West Bengal goes to the polls, Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Monday introduced new pension schemes for the members of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, free electricity to the poor and a housing scheme for the tea garden workers. 

The highest allocation of ₹2,500 crore was made for the Bandhu Prakalpa for providing ₹1,000 as monthly pension to the persons from the SC community above 60 years not covered under any other pension scheme. 

The allocation for pensions to the STs titled Jai Johar Prakalpa was ₹500 crore. Under the Hasir Alo scheme, no electricity tariff will be charged from customers whose quarterly consumption is less than 75 units (₹200 crore allocated) and ₹500 crore had been allocated for providing housing to workers of the tea gardens under the Chaa Sundari scheme.

The schemes in the last full Budget of the Trinamool Congress government before the 2021 Assembly polls targeted those who are living in areas where the ruling party had suffered losses in the Lok Sabha poll, Budget observers opined.

Mr. Mitra also made a provision for provident fund for the unorganised sector, incentives for the MSME and announced 100 MSME parks in the next three years to generate employment. The allocation to the newly announced schemes primarily targeting the social sector and creating employment through MSMEs was ₹5,165 crore. The Budget outlay for 2020-21 was ₹2,55,677 crore. Revenue receipts for 2019-2020 (revised numbers) was ₹1,63,259 crore which include State tax and non-tax revenue, share of Union taxes and duties and grants-in aid (from the Centre). Revenue receipts projections for 2020-21 stood at ₹1,79,398 crore.

For the current fiscal, the outstanding debt (including PF, Reserve Fund and Deposits) is expected to witness a 10% jump to ₹4,74,831 crore against the ₹4,31,786 crore for 2019-20.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee described it as a “pro-people budget” and said not a single family would be “left behind” after the implementation of the pension schemes for the SC and the ST communities. She said the Centre had denied the State government ₹1 lakh crore in various segments which includes the GST dues and grants. She urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Union government to work together with the Opposition parties and refrain from the “politics of vendetta” to revive the economy.

Leader of the Opposition Abdul Mannan said the Budget was an attempt to “mislead people and a statistical jugglery”. Leader of the Left Legislature party CPI(M) MLA Sujan Chakraborty raised a question on the selection process of the beneficiaries for the SC, ST pension scheme. He asked why the old age pension had not been hiked from ₹750 to ₹1,000.

Why you should pay for quality journalism - Click to know more

Recommended for you
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Apr 7, 2020 4:43:43 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/west-bengal-budget-state-announces-100-msme-parks-in-3-years-housing-for-tea-garden-workers/article30782656.ece

Next Story