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Bengal's job sops land it in soup

Probal Basak & Namrata Acharya  |  Kolkata 

As Mamata Banerjee treads on her populist track, the West Bengal finance department under Amit Mitra has raised an alarm over a huge outgo on account of new jobs created by the government.

The 2,75,000 new jobs would cost a monthly Rs 300 crore, officials with knowledge of the development said.

The chief minister had announced creation of 275,000 jobs in seven months and another 400,000 to 500,000 over the next couple of years.

According to sources, the finance department has communicated to the chief minister's office the state exchequer's inability to afford the huge recruitment-spree now.

H K Dwivedi, the newly-appointed state finance secretary did not comment.

Banerjee had announced recently: “In the last seven months, we have created 2,75,000 jobs, which includes 56,000 school teachers. We are creating more jobs. Opportun-ities would be created for those outside the state, too.”

In December, the state government relaxed the upper age limit for Group C and D jobs. The age was relaxed till 40 years in the general category, till 43 for the other backward classes and for the physically challenged, and till 45 for the scheduled classes and tribes. The previous government of the Left Front had relaxed by five years the earlier age limit of 32 for the general category.

Meanwhile, the state is set to breach its Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act limit soon, as it is left to borrow Rs 1,000 crore over the rest of the financial year.

The original borrowing limit of the state was Rs 17,828 crore, and the state has raised Rs 16,828 crore so far.

The state government has been blaming the earlier government for its huge debt burden of Rs 1.92 lakh crore, one of the highest among states.

The chief minister has been insisting on a package of Rs 19,000 crore, including a moratorium on its huge debt.

In August, the Centre committed a Rs 21,614-crore financial package for West Bengal. Of this, Rs 8,750 crore was on account of development of backward region. The money cannot be used to meet the committed expenditure of state.

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First Published: Fri, January 20 2012. 00:08 IST