West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday presented a vote on account in the absence of state finance minister Amit Mitra due to medical treatment.
Banerjee tabled a Rs 2,99,688-crore budget amid ruckus by the opposition, despite governor Jagdeep Dhankar having allowed the chief minister to do so. BJP and CPM MLAs boycotted the budget, walking out of the assembly.
While there were increased allocations for infrastructure, agriculture and social sectors, the state posted a net revenue deficit of above Rs 34,345 crore for FY21 despite a 2.9-time increase in revenue collection. The state has estimated a revenue deficit of above Rs 12,000 crore, while it has budgeted the total receipt at Rs 10,23,977.66 crore, with revenue receipts estimated at Rs 19,4034 crore, for FY 22.
The chief minister said the state has faced “the worst cyclone of the country”, with Amphan causing havoc in terms of life and property. “Had the Central government provided some financial relief in this hour of crisis, it would have helped us meet the challenges,” she said. She accused the Centre of being indifferent to West Bengal’s crises of Amphan and Covid-19 and depriving the state of its legitimate dues.
The budget announced construction of 46,000 km of rural roads connecting highways, 10,000 km of road repairs, and four more flyovers in Kolkata at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore. Land deeds will be handed over to 1.5 lakh refugees, for which the state has allotted Rs 100 crore.
The budget also announced free food grain distribution up to June, a Rs 100-crore scheme for distributing cooked food, construction of 20 lakh houses for SC & ST communities with an allocation of Rs 1,500 crore, and a Rs 25,000-crore loan provision for 10 lakh new SHGs. The budget also allotted Rs 850 crore for the welfare of construction workers.