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Growth better than national average

Calcutta, March 21: The economic growth in Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee's Bengal is faster than that of the gross domestic product (GDP) at the national level.

Last three years, GDP has grown at an average rate of 6.4 per cent, while the state domestic product (SDP) in Bengal has clocked an average rate of 7.29 per cent, said finance minister Asim Dasgupta while presenting his budget for 2005-06 at the Assembly.

'On the basis of this trend as well as the enhanced state plan outlay, the SDP growth rate of Bengal has been targeted at 8 per cent in the next financial year,' said Dasgupta.

This 'alternative approach to economic policies' with the objective of raising production in agriculture and industry and expanding trade and services will generate at least 6 lakh additional employment next year, he added.

To give the state economy a big push, Dasgupta proposed a 68 per cent increase in the total state plan expenditure from Rs 4,184 crore in 2004-05 to Rs 7,051 crore in 2005-06. 'This was not been possible in the state in the past,' he added. From infrastructure to healthcare and education to agriculture, he announced an increased plan outlay for various segments of the economy.

According to the budget estimates, the government's total expenditure ' taking together plan and non-plan expenditure ' in 2005-06 will be Rs 40,383 crore, while total receipts will be Rs 40,278 crore.

While announcing his tax measures, Dasgupta proposed jacking up of excise on foreign liquor and knocking off Rs 100 crore of the Rs 105 crore initial deficit and pegged the budget deficit projection at Rs 5 crore.

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