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FM keeps suspense on central assistance to Bengal

New Delhi: Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee today maintained suspense on any possible financial assistance from the Centre to states like West Bengal.

“As and when we finalise (it will be announced),” he told reporters when asked what government was doing with regard to the demand of financial assistance by states like West Bengal and Kerala.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, whose party Trinamool Congress is a key constituent of the UPA government, has been demanding financial assistance from the Centre, particularly a three-year moratorium on payment of central loans.

West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra had called on Mukherjee yesterday seeking a special package for the state. Talks, however, remained inconclusive.

The state government has a debt of about Rs 2 lakh crore and its current annual outgo towards interest payments is around Rs 22,000 crore. The Centre had already set up a committee to look into problems being faced by three debt-stressed states – West Bengal, Punjab and Kerala.

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