Jaitley asks states to point out lacunae in central fund distribution

Kolkata, May 27 (IANS) Rubbishing West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s repeated charges of financial noncooperation, union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Friday averred the Narendra Modi government’s continued support to the eastern state.

Asked to react on Banerjee’s repeated charge of freezing central funds, Jaitley said he would be happy to rectify if any of the state could point out a gap in the distribution of funds meant for central schemes.

“I would like the (Mamata) government to be specific, there are no untied funds. Every fund has to be provided under the constitutional mechanism – that is the finance commission. If any state government can point out any lacunae in that, I will be too happy to cover for that lacuna.

“Vaguely stating that I am being not helped is one thing, being specific as what is the entitlement is quite another,” he told the media.

The senior Bharatiya Janata party leader also insisted his attending Banerjee’s swearing in ceremony did not infringe upon his party’s opposition to the ruling Trinamool Congress.

“It’s a great challenge for any government including the Trinamool to bring back the state’s economy back on track. The centre is concerned and we will in letter and spirit abide by every ingredient of our federal responsibility and assist Bengal.

“So far as funding relationship is concerned, there is constitutional mechanism, the 14th finance commission. Bengal being a revenue deficit state gets a little extra to cover the revenue deficit. Every entitlement of Bengal under that relationship will be honoured to its fullest,” said Jaitley.

He also asserted the “political character of the Trinamool government” will not impact the centre’s assistance to Bengal including sanctioning of central projects, highways or central institutions.

Jaitley also asserted that the BJP, which bagged three seats in the assembly polls, would try to gradually occupy the position of principal opposition party in Bengal.

–IANS

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