On Wednesday, addressing a news conference, Mamata Banerjee, Chief Minister, West Bengal called the central government’s COVID-19 economic package, “a big zero” with nothing of help to states, and that it was “misleading the people” and was planning to “financially lockout” states.
She said, “States are pillars of a country’s development. Nothing has been offered to the state governments in the package. Burning issues like waiving farmers’ loans, employment generation and ensuring liquid cash to poor people in distress were not mentioned in the package. The package is a big zero and it is nothing but a move to hoodwink people at this period of crisis. It is an eyewash to fool the people. There is nothing for the unorganised sector, public spending and employment generation. Yesterday, when the PM announced the Rs 20 lakh crore package, we were hopeful that the interest of states will be looked into, the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) limit would be increased. But today, after the Union Finance Minister made the announcements, it was found that everything that was said yesterday was a bluff. We have not been given a penny. There is no earning and only burning.” She said, increasing one month’s time for tax compliance is nothing and bank cooperation is expected. “This is bulldozing the federal structure, snatching state’s rights. This is an attempt to lockout states. We condemn this.”
The chief minister alleged that the centre usually allots Rs 14 lakh crore for MSMEs but now they have reduced it to Rs 3 lakh crore under the guise of a special economic package.
Bengal Finance Minister, Amit Mitra said, “People must know the truth and the centre’s actual new announcement is just Rs 4.2 lakh crore or 2 per cent of GDP.” He further said that the previous interventions by the RBI and the Union Finance Ministry amounting to Rs 10 lakh crore were included in the Rs 20 lakh crore package.