Calcutta, Sept. 27: Mamata Banerjee today accused the Centre of acting in a “partisan” manner by accepting the Raghuram Rajan committee report that proposed a general method of allocating central funds based on a state’s development needs and performance, saying Bengal’s funds share would shrink.
In the report prepared by Rajan, who recently became the Reserve Bank of India governor, Bengal has been categorised as a “less developed” state.
In a Facebook post this evening, the chief minister said she was not happy with the status as it would bring down Bengal’s share of central funds from 6.93 per cent to 5.5 per cent. The status of “least developed states” would have meant more funds for the Bengal government.
“I am deeply shocked and anguished by the outright and discriminatory approach of the Central government towards Bengal in entertaining the Raghuram Rajan committee report. The state will lose more than Rs 4,000 crore of central funds due to this,” Mamata wrote in the Facebook post.
“It is clear that the Central Government is acting on political lines and partisan machinations,” she added.
The recommendations by the Rajan committee link devolution of central funds to an underdevelopment index, with the value ranging between 0 and 1. The higher the index, the more the need for assistance.
“Bengal will stand to suffer significantly in spite of being a No. 1 debt-stressed State… No one ever thought that we will have to pay nearly Rs 28,000 crore this year towards loan repayment and interest liability,” Mamata wrote.
She acknowledged that some states would benefit from the recommendations.
The Rajan committee looked at 10 parameters — ranging from monthly per capita consumption expenditure to poverty rates — while working out the index.
Indebtedness of a state, however, was not considered.
The report of the committee is yet to be formally accepted by the Centre. The devolution formula can be adopted after a nod from the cabinet. Finance minister P. Chidambaram had said yesterday that even after the cabinet’s approval, the use of the formula would be the discretion of the departments that release funds.