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Centre can consider 20-year term loan, debt restructuring: Amit Mitra

Saturday, 24 November 2012 - 8:26pm IST | Agency: PTI
West Bengal government, reeling under a massive debt burden, suggested the Centre could consider a term loan of 20 years, debt restructuring and a 3-year moratorium on interest payment to help the state tide over its financial problem.

West Bengal government, reeling under a massive debt burden, suggested the Centre could consider a term loan of 20 years, debt restructuring and a 3-year moratorium on interest payment to help the state tide over its financial problem.

Finance Minister Amit Mitra said, however, that the state government will "not beg" for financial aid.

"I assume that the new Finance Minister is busy with his own issues. We are not going to beg to anybody," he said, adding the estimated debt burden was about a whopping Rs two lakh crore.

However, Mitra said the Congress-led government at the Centre, from which Trinamool Congress withdrew support, could "at least consider a term loan of 20 years".

He also said debt restructuring and a moratorium period of at least three years on interest payment could also be considered by the Centre.

The state government has targeted to collect about Rs31,000 crore in revenues in current fiscal without raising tax rates, he said at the India International Trade Fair.

The 13th Finance Commission has identified West Bengal, along with Kerala and Punjab, as the debt-stressed states.

"West Bengal's debt:GDP ratio is almost double of the other two states. So, the Centre should at least consider West Bengal (for debt restructuring)," Mitra said.

Maintaining that tourism and ports were the main sectors where the state was seeking investments, the Minister said the tourism department had identified 207 acres of land for destination development and identified land for a proposed Giant Wheel in Kolkata on the lines of the London Eye.

"Land, identified at an attractive location, would be offered to a private sector partner selected through the public-private partnership (PPP) framework," Mitra said, adding the project worth about Rs600 crore would be offered for bids by December-end.

On the issue of land acquisition, he said the state has created a land bank and some land was already available.


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