West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Parliament House on Monday to demand relief from paying of interests on debts.
During the meeting, Banerjee raised the debt problem that the state was facing and said most of them were a result of the actions of past governments. The debt burden, leading to high interest payments, was affecting development expenditure in West Bengal, she said, and asked for debt relief and relief from interest payments.
Banerjee also expressed concern over pending releases of debts.
This is the first time that Banerjee met Modi after he took over as the prime minister in May, 2014.
According to a government statement, the Prime Minister explained that he is a firm believer in cooperative federalism. He has constantly been saying that only strong states can make a strong India and, therefore, states must be strengthened to meet development needs of their people.
The PM said West Bengal and Kolkata have to develop for their own sake and for the benefit of the region and that is why the Centre has stressed on the “Act East” policy. The region has talented people and a lot of resources. The PM stated that he is fully committed for the development of West Bengal and its capital Kolkata.
Modi said this was the reason why the Central Government has agreed to devolve 42 per cent of the divisible pool of taxes to states for the next five years. This is unprecedented and a rise from 32 per cent which is the current share. In addition, the Central Government has accepted other recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission relating to Revenue Deficit Grants and other Grants.