West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said the state budget for 2018-19 is aimed at helping the poor and providing social security to them. At a post-budget press conference here, she also said the key exercise was more focussed on the agriculture sector while the recently concluded 'Bengal Global Business Summit' was directed at the industry.
The budget would help create employment opportunities, the chief minister said. With the panchayat polls in the state due in the middle of the year, Banerjee said, "Don't construe that since this is
the election year, the budget was made keeping that in mind."
According to her, the state has been able to generate 8.92 lakh jobs, both in the government and private sector. She said that the idea of focussing on the agriculture sector was that the state's economy comprised more than 80 per cent villages.
"We are planning more schemes for them," she said. Slamming the Centre a day ahead of the Union budget, Banerjee said that devolution of central funds to the states had been deferred from the first day to the middle of the month.
She also criticised the "hasty" implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST) by the Centre. "We are facing a lot of problems due to the GST. We are keeping a watch. The unorganised and construction sectors, traders and small and medium industries are severely affected," she said, adding that the Centre had deviated from the original plan.
The chief minister also asked why the Centre had not fully met the states' burden at the time of implementation of the GST.
Banerjee demanded a white paper on black money recovery and demonetisation.
State Finance Minister Amit Mitra said that the loss to the state in the first six months post implementation of the GST was Rs 1,850 crore, out of which only Rs 1,000 crore was paid.