Mamata Banerjee’s budget for roads, doles and Netaji monumentsFebruary 6, 2021
The chief minister presented it before the assembly on Friday since finance minister Amit Mitra was under medical supervision. The state government expects to mobilise Rs 1.94 lakh crore of revenue in FY22, about 34% higher than the revised receipts of Rs 1.45 lakh crore in FY21. The revenue deficit is projected at Rs 12000 crore on a Rs 50 crore deficit budget.
Although it has been a practice to prepare a vote-on-account before elections, Banerjee chose to place the budget for the full year.
Besides showering promises to lift the living standard of the economically weaker sections, Banerjee proposed a slew of road infrastructure projects to build 46,000 km new rural roads in the next five years, in which 10,000 km new rural roads to be constructed and repaired in the next year.
She allocated Rs 2475 crore for highways, bridges and connectivity projects including Rs 500 crore for rural roads.
It appears that she took a leaf out of union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, who proposed 675 km of highway works in West Bengal at a cost of Rs 25,000 crore including upgradation of existing Kolkata-Siliguri national highway.
Indian Chanber of Commerce president Vikash Agarwal welcome the proposals on infrastructure development including one to build an industrial township at Raghunathpur and special package to boost tourism.
She proposed Rs 1500 crore for building 20 lakh pucca houses for scheduled castes and scheduled tribes people in the next five years and promised to complete a similar scheme for three lakh permanent tea garden workers in the next two years. Allotment letters have been handed over to 4,600 tea garden workers.
The budget proposed to raise annual financial assistance to farmers and registered Bargadar Rs 6000 per acre from Rs 5000 per acre from June 2021.
She announced formation of 10 lakh new self-help groups and arrangement of loan of Rs 25,000 crore in the next 5 years from banks. The proposals include a one-time grant of Rs 1,000 for nearly 45 lakh labourers in the transport sector as financial help due to the pandemic-led stress.
The chief minister also announced several projects in the name of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose to commemorate his 125
th birth anniversary.
She proposed erecting an Azad Hind Monument in New Town in respect of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, building of Jai Hind Bhaban in every district as centers of “education, sports, culture and various social services”. There would be formation of ‘Netaji Battalion’ in Kolkata police and a Netaji State Planning Commission. Banerjee proposed Rs 215 crore for these.
Thrust has also been given to primary education in regional languages. She proposed to build 100 English medium schools especially in areas dominated by SC and ST in the next 3 years, and about 700 schools in different languages such as Alchiki, Nepali, Hindi, Kamtapuri, Urdu, Kurmali and Sadri.