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20% rise in VAT collection in Bengal
November, 02nd 2006

The West Bengal Finance Minister, Dr Asim Kumar Dasgupta, today said that the State had witnessed 20 per cent growth in value added tax (VAT) collection during the first half of the current fiscal.

Collection of excise duty has grown by 26 per cent during the first half against a historic growth rate of eight per cent. "The higher growth rate was achieved without fresh addition to liquor licences and primarily by checking the leakages from the system," he said, addressing the members of Bengal National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BNCCI).

"During the last one-and-a-half years we have not taken overdraft even for a single day," Mr Dasgupta said emphasising the improvements in State finances.

The State Government is aiming to step up the Planned budgetary allocation from the existing Rs 8,000 crore to Rs 20,000 crore in phases.

The aim is to step up the State domestic production (SDP) growth rate from 7.4 per cent to nine per cent in five years. While a higher growth rate is targeted for all the major components of SDP, including agriculture, industry and services, the finance minister expects small and medium enterprises (SME) to play a significant role in this growth story. A total of seven lakh additional jobs are expected to be created.

To enhance the growth of agriculture sector, irrigation coverage will be increased from 71 per cent to 80 per cent. Efforts are under way to set up a total of 42 multi-purpose cold storages within a year.

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