Ashok Lahiri says Bengal’s claim that Centre owes it Rs 98,000 is unrealistic

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Ashok Lahiri says Bengal’s claim that Centre owes it Rs 98,000 is unrealistic

The West Bengal government claims that the Centre owes it Rs 98,000 is unrealistic, BJP MLA Ashok Lahiri said on Wednesday. Lahiri, the former chief economic adviser to the Union government, said it was hard to determine the heads under which the funds are being sought by the state government. He said that the Centre distributes funds under three heads devolution to states from the divisible pool, grants-in aid and centrally sponsored schemes. The Centre and the states have to share the cost and if the states don't pay their own share, the central money is not released, he said. The Centre releases fresh funds after the states provide utilisation certificates for the funds already given, Lahiri said at a press conference at the BJP office here. The state government's claim to that amount is not good as for five years - 2021 to 2026, the annual quota for all states from the divisible pool is around 32,000 crore, he said. He claimed that the demand is purely unrealistic. Lahiri said that states following populist policies will see their finances depleted, despite the fact that there is no limit to populism. State Minister Sashi Panja said that the West Bengal government was not making a claim over the dues without proper documents. We have already provided a break up of the categories to the Centre. She told PTI that it is for them to say whether they would clear the dues or not. Panja, a senior TMC leader, said that the BJP is trying to stifle the state financially as it failed politically in West Bengal.