Rs two crore deficit budget for 2008-09 presented in Bengal

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Kolkata, Mar 17 (UNI) West Bengal Finance Minister Asim Dasgupta today presented a Rs two crore deficit budget for 2008-09 fiscal with continued emphasis on land reforms and employment generation.

Presenting the budgetary proposals in the Assembly, the Finance Minister said though the total deficit for the next year was estimated at Rs 77 crore, with the proposed additional resource mobilisation of Rs 75 crore, the final deficit falls to the tune of Rs two crore.

Dr Dasgupta also announced imposition of tax to the tune of Rs 75 crore on a number of items, including foreign liquor and motor cars.

He said in the next fiscal the state plan expenditure would increase to about Rs 11,967 crore and the ratio of plan expenditure to total expenditure would increase to 22.97 per cent.

The proposal for reduction of VAT from 12.5 per cent to four per cent on some industrial raw materials, reduction of rate of luxury tax on hotels and increase in salary limit from Rs 1500 to Rs 3000 in the West Bengal Profession Tax Act were the other salient features of the budget.

'' We have tried to prepare an industry-friendly budget with emphasis on land reforms and thrust on infrastructure development, irrigation, health and education, '' Dr Dasgupta observed.

However, both Opposition Congress and Trinamool Congress termed the budget as the coming Panchayat election-oriented.

Opposition leader Partha Chatterjee said, '' The budget has failed to fulfil the expectations of the mass as there is no mention of measures to control price rise of essentials and other things. '' Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Manas Bhuniya maintained that allocation of additional amount of Rs 100 crore to the new marketing corporation had been done with an eye on the Panchayat election.

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