Kolkata: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who had sought to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the first time in nine months after his assuming office, on Friday said she will raise the state's debt waiver issue with him.
"In the last nine months, I did not have any talk with the Prime Minister. I had met Finance Minister Arun Jaitley like Amit Mitra (state finance minister)", she told reporters after presentation of West Bengal budget in the Assembly today.
"I will raise the issue of waiver of debt repayments with the Prime Minister as the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission are out," she said.
"We want waiver of debt repayment as we are carrying the legacy of the previous (Left Front) government," Banerjee said.
"Everytime we met former Finance Ministers of the UPA government like Pranab Mukherjee and P Chidambaram raising the issue, we were told to wait for the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission," she said.
"Even in our meetings with former prime minister Manmohan Singh and present Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, we were told the same but in the recommendations our demand has been completely ignored," the Chief Minister said. When pointed out that the devolution of revenue to states had been increased, she said, "many central government schemes will get closed and there will be no actual gains at all... It is like frying fish in its own oil".
"We have waited for three and half years and our eyes have opened now. We will raise our just demand", she said.
"Would the Centre have meted out the same treatment to states like Rajasthan, Gujarat and Maharashtra if they had fallen in a debt-trap like situation like ours?" she said.
The previous government had "committed the crime of fiscal indiscipline, why our government should be penalised," she asked, adding last year Rs 28,000 crore was taken away from the state exchequer by way of interest repayments.
To a question whether the Opposition leaders would accompany her, Banerjee added "I will be happy if they go."