The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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State pleads for bumper buyout

New Delhi, July 19: The state government today asked the Centre to buy 15 lakh tonnes of rice from the state instead of the 2 lakh tonnes it normally does as Bengal has had a bumper harvest.

“They have stepped up rice purchase from Andhra, from where they buy some 40 lakh tonnes. I don’t see why they should not buy more from Bengal,” said finance minister Asim Dasgupta. The state has also asked the Centre to allow it to export at least 5 lakh tonnes of potatoes as farmers were reporting a bumper crop for the tubers, too.

Dasgupta had come here to fix allocation of the state’s annual plan for this financial year. The planning commission, which decides the figure, today announced that Bengal’s annual plan size would be Rs 3,894 crore, about 40 per cent lower than the Rs 6,307 crore approved last year.

Of this plan size some Rs 3,075 crore will be given as grant and another Rs 50 crore as special plan assistance by the Central government. The state government will arrange for the remaining funds.

However last year the state could not bring in matching resources to the central grant and eventually it managed to spend just Rs 3,682 crores. Hence the huge cut this year.

Plan panel deputy chairman K.C.Pant who decided on the plan size today warned the state that it was slipping into the habit of cutting down on plan sizes and this could effect its growth rate.

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