Earlier in the day, when Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Prime Minister Narendra Modi there was a speculation that whether the meeting was to talk about the CBI pilling pressure on Trinamool Congress or was it really about the word on debt relief.
Well, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s reply to Mamata Banerjee has kept the CBI angle alive and it indicates that the Centre is not going to go easy on West Bengal government.
Responding to the request by Mamata Banerjee for debt relief and relief from interest payments, Narendra Modi said that the West Bengal has adequate funds to meet its development needs.
Narendra Modi said that the Union Government has decided to give West Bengal the royalty on coal and other minerals which will provide Rs 1,600 crore to the state annually. In addition, West Bengal will also get Rs 11,200 crore from the coal blocks that have been auctioned so far and there will even more revenue in future.
Expressing his belief in ‘Cooperative Federalism’ he said that the Central Government has also agreed to devolve 42% of the divisible pool of taxes to states for the next five years. He also pointed to the fact that West Bengal is getting an additional Revenue Deficit Grant along with only two other non-Special Category States.
Including all the other benefits that the state is getting, the additional transfers will add up to 22,000 crore, which is an increase of 80% as compared to the year 2014-2015.
The Prime Minister said that given all these financial benefits, West Bengal is better placed as compared to the past and has adequate funds to meet its development needs fully.
If there were so many funds already in the kitty of West Bengal government, the question remains-Why Mamata Banerjee met Prime Minister Modi?