ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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WEST BENGAL-Helpless Bailiff of a Decadent Lord

WEST BENGAL Helpless Bailiff of a Decadent Lord Ajit Roy THE West Bengal budget for 1986-87 presented by Jyoti Basu is not particularly striking in any respect except perhaps for its contrivance to make an essentially deficit balance position appear as a substantially surpjus one. Jyoti Basu, however, cannot be personally faulted on that account. The sudden resignation of the previous Finance Minister, Ashok Mitra, just a few weeks before the budget session was due to begin did not leave much time to the chief minister who took over the charge of the finance department, presumably as a stop gap measure only, for serious thoughts to the budget-making. More fundamentally, of course, the national political-economic framework in general and the distribution of fiscal powers between the Centre and the states in particular offer very limited room to state finance ministers for any substantial improvisation or innovation, unless of course the state government is prepared to opt for an altogether different course of extra-constitutional mobilisation which the left Front government in West Bengal definitely is not. Within the logic of the prevailing scheme, the state budget, therefore, can scarcely escape following a much beaten track. Indeed, much of Jyoti Basil's budget speech is devoted to the usual lamentatioris over the existing fiscal constrictions and Central iniquities and their impacts on the state finances

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