Finance panel to assess Bengal’s debt restructuring demand

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Kolkata, July 17 (IANS) The 15th Finance Commission “will explore all possible ways” to restructure West Bengal’s debt as demanded by the state, its Chairman N.K. Singh said on Tuesday.

“I think the state government brought out very forcefully the need for the Finance Commission to look at the legacy issue of the debt overhang,” Singh said.

“The Commission has taken note of the state government’s demand and will explore possible ways within our mandate,” he said.

During its three-day visit, the 15th Finance Commission met political parties, urban local bodies, panchayats and state officials along with West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Finance Minister Amit Mitra.

“The Chief Minister made detailed observations, which were followed by presentations on state finances,” he said.

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Singh said the economy of West Bengal in the last few years has made enormous progress in terms of key macro economic parameters such as GDP growth, debt management, enhancing own tax revenue and looking at innovative ways of financing.

He also pointed out that the state made significant strides in many human development indices, including education and health.

The West Bengal Chief Minister said the meeting between the Finance Commission and state officials was “good”.

“We had a detailed discussion with the Commission. Our expectation is high. We expect the commission will consider our debt restructure (proposal) or debt waiver,” Banerjee said.

–IANS

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