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12 Feb 2017

Mamata Banerjee Announces Fund For 'Victims' Of Notes Ban


PTI, Kolkata, Feb 12:West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who has been a foremost opponent of the Centre's demonetisation policy, and her state government has also become first to announce relief measures for those affected by it.
Presenting the first budget of the Trinamool government's second term in office on Friday, Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra announced that the state government will provide financial assistance to those adversely affected by demonetization.
Terming demonetisation as financial and political emergency, Mitra said that the state government would provide a one-time grant of Rs 50,000 to those who bore the brunt of Centre's note ban in order to "enable them to start an alternative business and stand on their feet".
According to the new proposal, the government will identify fifty thousand workers associated with various small enterprise who have lost their job either in the state or outside and have been forced to return home.
Mitra also announced relief for farmers highlighting their plight in his budget speech. "Farmers are dependent on cooperative banks for loans. Cooperative system has been damaged by demonetisation," he stated.
Mitra expressed concern that many farmers could not procure agricultural inputs like fertilizers, seeds on time due to the note ban, and announced that the state government will create a special assistance fund of Rs 100 crore to "mitigate the suffering of farmers".
Expressing apprehension about the impact of demonetization on the overall economy, Mitra said the country's growth rate had taken a severe blow due to the move. "India's growth rate has reduced to 7.1% as per Centre's own data due to demonetisation. Workers have lost jobs. The state growth rate may also dip to 9.27% due to this," he added.
Reacting to the budget proposals, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said that despite extreme financial hardships the state government had not scrapped any social sector scheme. "Our government is a humane face. We believe in social justice. We are always with the people," she said.

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