On 15th February 2023, Chandrima Bhattacharya, Finance Minister of West Bengal, presented the Rs. 3,39,162 crore Budget of West Bengal(WB) for the Financial Year 2023-24. The budget focused on farmers, the tea sector, and the potential of WB as a logistics hub and entrepreneurs.
Highlights of WB’s Budget for 2023-2024:
i.The West Bengal economy is expected to grow at a rate of 8.41% in 2022-2023, which is higher than the expected growth rate of the Indian economy (6.95%). The all-India Index of Industrial Production (Manufacturing) growth during 2022-23 (April to November) is 5.0%, and West Bengal’s growth has been 7.8%.
ii.An additional dearness allowance of 3% for employees of the WB government, including teachers and pensioners.
New Schemes & Projects:
i.She also announced a new scheme ‘Bhavishyat Credit Card’ for the youths of the state with an outlay of Rs 350 crore. Under this scheme, 2 lakhs youths (aged 18 to 45) will be extended financial assistance of up to Rs 5 lakhs through banks to set up micro-enterprises and create employment opportunities.
- The state government will provide margin money up to 10% and guarantee up to 15% of the loan amount.
ii.She also noted that under the Rastashree, a special project, a total of 11500-kilometre rural roads will be constructed at a cost of Rs 3000 crore.
- This allocation for the construction of old and new roads will boost the agrarian economy.
iii.New ‘Matsyajeebi Bandhu’ scheme will be launched to support the family members of the fishermen in case of untimely death. Under this scheme, the family members will receive a one-time grant of Rs 2 lakh if the death of a registered fisherman is within the age group of 18-60 years.
iv.Currently, women in WB in the age bracket of 25 and 60 years are entitled to monthly payments ranging from Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 under the Lokkhir Bhandar scheme. Now after the women cross 60 years of age, they will be automatically entitled to old- age allowance which will be Rs 1,000 per month.
i.Presenting the 2023-24 budget, the Finance Minister stated that agricultural income tax on tea gardens for 2023-24 and 2024-25 will be waived.
ii.The budget also proposed a full waiver of charges on irrigation water supplied to farms and an exemption of payments of rural employment cess.
About West Bengal:
Chief Minister– Mamata Banerjee
Governor– C. V. Ananda Bose
National Park– Singalila National Park; Neora Valley National Park
Wildlife Sanctuary– Jorpokhri Wildlife Sanctuary; Senchal Wildlife Sanctuary