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Amit increased spending pill
Amit Mitra

Calcutta, June 27: Finance minister Amit Mitra today announced in the Assembly a raft of measures, including increased social service spending and planned expenditure, for better management of the state’s fiscal situation.

He also said the government would “work in such a way that it would not just take care of the Rs 75-crore loss from the (sales) tax waiver on LPG cylinders but also get Rs 100 crore in its place”. Mitra did not explain how he planned to achieve this but hinted at an improved and streamlined tax collection system.

Replying to the discussion on the motion for the vote-on-account in the Assembly, the finance minister said: “The new government’s policies reflect its philosophy of improving the conditions of the people and are expected to be achieved by the end of this fiscal.”

Mitra announced an increase of 3.09 per cent in social service spending vis--vis total expenditure. “We have done this because our government believes in social service.”

“The other targets too were important and are intended to control the state’s deficit and contribute to the growth of Bengal,” he said. The “other targets” include an increase in the state’s planned expenditure from 18.03 per cent to 23.9 per cent and an increase in planned expenditure as a percentage of total expenditure from 22 per cent to 28.6 per cent. “We first have to set a vision and we will now go about achieving it,” Mitra said.

He said that a Left MLA had questioned in the Assembly why price rise was not mentioned in the government’s vote-on-account. “It’s because we do things (to control price hike), and do not speak about it like you used to (when you were in power).”

Referring to the Haryana government’s move today to decrease state taxes on LPG, Mitra said: “What Bengal thinks today, India does tomorrow.”

When CPM leader Surjya Kanta Mishra asked how he arrived at the figure that the state had one crore unemployed youths, Mitra said: “It includes the 85 lakh people who are in the disguised unemployment category (where more people are working than is necessary, thus bringing down overall productivity of each individual).”

Political killings

Eighteen people have been killed in political clashes in the state since the Assembly poll results were declared on May 13, industries minister Partha Chatterjee told the House today. Of those killed, eight were affiliated to the CPM, six to Trinamul, three to the Congress and one to the GNLF.

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