Kolkata, March 24 (IANS) Former West Bengal finance minister Asim Dasgupta Saturday accused the Mamata Banerjee government of giving misleading information regarding the state's debt situation and said the amount of loans taken by it in just nine months are the highest in the country.
"We have noticed that the current government has given misleading information about the status of debts of the state. It has been said that West Bengal has the highest per capita debt in the country, which is wrong," said Dasgupta addressing the media here.
"The Reserve Bank of India in its 156-page report published on March 31 last year has stated that West Bengal is at the 12th place in terms of per capita debt. There are many states above it. There is Punjab with a debt in excess of Rs.26,000, Gujarat with more than Rs.22,000, and Maharastra with Rs.21,000, among other states," said Dasgupta, who was state finance minister for 24 years at a stretch.
He said the present government made huge borrowings to bridge the deficit it has created.
"During our regime, state taxes had grown by 25 percent, but the current government could attain only an 18 percent growth which has created deficit and to make up for that, they went in for huge market borrowings. They have taken Rs.17,000 crore as loans in the last nine months which is highest in the country for the period," he said.
"The rate of growth has been meagre, in some cases negative in areas like irrigation, small and medium industries and rural development which generate employment. There is now a lot of uncertainty regarding employment generation," he said.
Dasgupta termed the budget as "uncertain and incomplete" and asked why the government which had promised to create 10 lakh jobs did not say anything about it in its budget speech.
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