If Didi arm-twists Centre, Punjab too benefits: Badal

If Didi arm-twists Centre, Punjab too benefits: Badal

If the Centre succumbs to the “coercive tactics” of Mamata Banerjee on the issue of debt waiver to West Bengal, Punjab ought to benefit as it has been categorised as a “debt stressed” state by the 13th Finance Commission, Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal said on Saturday.

The Centre cannot apply different yardsticks for similarly placed states, he said. “If the Centre succumbs to the pressure of Mamata Banerjee, our state is ought to be benefitted because West Bengal, Kerala and Punjab had already been categorised as debt stressed states by the 13th Finance Commission and therefore the Centre can’t apply different yardsticks for the similarly placed states,” Badal said.

Hard stance

Mamata had recently hardened her stance on the demand for a three-year moratorium on interest payment on loans, saying her support to UPA’s presidential candidate would depend on the resolution of the moratorium issue.

She also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh earlier this month on the loan waiver.
On the burden of debt on the state, Badal said, “Mamata’s ultimatum given to the Centre on either waiving the outstanding debt or seeking moratorium on its repayment should not be construed merely as efforts on her part, rather these were ‘coercive tactics’ aimed at bringing Congress-led UPA government on the negotiation table to accede her demand.”

On the misuse of Central funds by the state government as alleged by the Opposition from time to time, Badal said it was a misnomer as the Centre was not doling out any special package to the states, rather it was duty bound to pay back their share from the revenue collected in form of Income Tax, Central Excise and others such taxes from the states.

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