Bengal govt tables Rs 3.21 lakh crore Budget for 2022-23

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In the midst of strong protests by the opposition BJP, West Bengal Finance Minister Chandrima Bhattacharya on Friday presented a populist Budget of Rs 3.21 lakh crore, proposing extension of the 2 per cent rebate on stamp duty and 10 per cent waiver on circle rate of land for another six months till September 2022, along with incentives for battery-operated and CNG vehicles and tax relief for the tea sector.

The total Budget allocation for 2022-23 will see 3.8 times growth to Rs 3,21,030 crore as against the figure in 2010-11, when the Trinamool Congress government assumed power, while the development allocation is projected to increase 6.7 times to Rs 1,26,305 crore.

Revenue receipts are pegged at Rs 1,98,047 crore, while the state government proposes to raise public debt to the tune of Rs 1,14,958 crore.

Capital expenditure for the fiscal is estimated to be Rs 33,144 crore, and revenue expenditure is pegged at Rs 2,26,326 crore.

Presenting the Budget, Bhattacharya said that the 2 per cent relief on stamp duty and 10 per cent reduction in property circle rate was effective till March 31, which has now been extended till September.

“There has been a 25 per cent increase in revenue collection with the state government’s move in stimulating the real estate sector. The 10 per cent waiver on circle rate has resulted in registration of 20 lakh deeds,” Amit Mitra, Chief Advisor to the Chief Minister and the Finance Department, said after the Budget announcement.

The Budget also seeks to provide relief to the tea industry by exempting rural employment cess and waiving agricultural income tax for the 2022-23 financial year.

Allocation towards the social service sector is also projected to increase 10.7 times to Rs 73,441 crore from the 2010-11 figures.

The Budget also proposes rise of the state’s own tax revenue by 3.76 times to Rs 79,347 crore for the 2022-23 fiscal.

Meanwhile, noisy scenes were witnessed during the Budget presentation in the Assembly with BJP MLAs raising slogans, demanding filling up of vacant posts, besides raising the issue of “distressed tea gardens in the state”, among others.

“There is nothing new in the Budget. There is no new project, no proposal for roads or bridges. The Budget gives nothing to the common man. The state government has only changed the names of the central projects, and running them as state projects. They are telling lies to the people. We are not going to accept this,” Leader of Opposition, Suvendu Adhikari, said.

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