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Asim aims fiscal salvo at Opposition

Calcutta, Dec. 27: Asim Dasgupta today told the House the Opposition was “misconstruing the quantum of the state government’s financial burden” after the Bengal Congress chief blamed the state’s “wrong economic policies” for the fiscal woes.

The state finance minister said that Bengal ranked 11 among states in terms of the debt ratio — arrived at by dividing the state’s total debt by the state’s gross domestic product. He appeared to suggest that several other states were worse-off on that count.

According to Reserve Bank figures, Bengal’s debt ratio is 42.9 per cent, he added. The country’s debt ratio stood at 56.7 per cent, he said.

He said Bengal’s small savings deposits were Rs 69,000 crore, the highest in India.

The finance minister said that by the end of this fiscal, Bengal’s deficit would be Rs 1.92 lakh crore. However, he said the state could not be called bankrupt as the Centre’s debt burden was much higher at Rs 35 lakh crore.

Dasgupta was speaking on a motion moved by state Congress chief Manas Bhuniya. The motion stated that the House “should note with grave concern that all development projects had been stalled because of the financial crisis”.

The motion alleged that “wrong economic policies and financial indiscipline had brought about this serious situation”.

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