Didi can make do with ‘even 1-yr moratorium’ on loan repayment

Mamata BanerjeeMamata Banerjee said the state should be given at least a year’s moratorium on repayment of interests on central loans.

With the Centre yet to heed to her demand of debt restructuring, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Tuesday said the state should be given at least a year's moratorium on repayment of interests on central loans — a marked climbdown from her earlier request of waiver of interest on the debts for three years.

"We have been consistently asking the Centre to grant a three-year moratorium on the Rs 28,000-crore interest paid annually on loans so that welfare schemes could be taken up. We have already created 2.5 lakh government jobs since we came to power. Ten lakh more jobs can be possible if one year's moratorium is granted," Mamata told a rally at Plassey in Nadia district.

"We are not beggars. We are not asking for alms. We want our rights," Mamata said, adding that the state has increased the revenue collection but "whatever we earn, the central government takes away in the name of debt instalments."

"In 2011-12, the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India took away Rs 21,000 crore towards debt servicing and next fiscal they took Rs 25,000 crore out of Rs 32,000 crore that we earned," she said.

Mentioning that the state has to fork out a major part of its annual income to pay salaries and pensions, she asked, "How can we run the state if Rs 28,000 crore goes out of the Rs 40,000 crore that we will collect as revenue? Can a state be run with Rs 12,000 crore if the Centre did not respond with assistance?"

"We are trying our best to make ends meet. The chair does not work. The person who sits on the chair has to work," she said while questioning the lack of developmental schemes and projects by the previous Left Front government in the state. "I have introduced Kanyashree, Yuvashree, Shishu Sathi and several other welfare and developmental schemes despite there being a scarcity of funds" she said, adding that her government "does not sit in Kolkata".

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