<p>Quoting a report by the 13th Finance Commission, Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee said today West Bengal may be in a debt trap by 2014-15
"Based on the financial condition of all states, the 13th Finance Commission has said that three states may be in debt trap by 2014-15. The Finance Commission has said that three states will be in debt trap by 2014-15. West Bengal is on of the three," he said at a press meet here today.
Brushing aside the allegations that West Bengal has been subject to economic deprivation due to a 'step motherly' treatment by the Centre, Mukherjee said that under the 13th Finance Commission, the states share has risen by 131 percent, compared to the 12th Finance Commission at Rs 1 lakh 18 thousand crore.
“The state has raised the issue in every election, but there is no question of discrimination,” said Mukherjee. West Bengal's debt burden increased to Rs 1,92,000 crore, against Rs 1,48,110 crore in 2008-09 — a rise of about 29 per cent over the previous year. Dogged by high revenue and fiscal deficits, high committed expenditure, high debt compared to revenue receipt, the state is in a debt trap.
In addition, the recommendation of the fifth Pay Commission, pertaining to increased salaries of government employees has further dented the state finances.