Upping the ante against the UPA Government after failing to clinch a three-year moratorium on interest payment on central loans, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Monday that the Centre should allow states to collect central taxes and use them for governance.

“I think the Centre should allow a state to collect central taxes and govern the State on the basis of that,” she told a convention of the Trinamool Congress’s student and youth wings at the Netaji Indoor stadium here.

The states overall get 32 per cent of the taxes collected by the Centre, she said.

The Centre had allowed the previous Left Front Government to take loans rampantly, which led to a mounting debt over Rs 2.3 lakh crore which we inherited when we came to power, she said.

“There could be more debts because now we are coming across cases where CPI(M) leaders had taken loans to buy buses from the State co-operative bank, but had not repaid,” she said, pointing out that the Centre did not stop the previous government from taking loans indiscriminately, but it stopped the present government.

“Our annual revenue is Rs 21,000 crore while we have to pay annual interest of Rs 26,000 crore. How will we work then? How do we manage the rural development works unless there is money? Would we go for theft and dacoity?” she said.

She said the Centre would go on announcing many sops in the coming budget for the masses, but it would hardly implement them as the general elections would soon be approaching.

(This article was published on February 4, 2013)
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