Kolkata: The West Bengal government on Monday announced a Rs5,106 crore package under which it will sell rice at Rs2 a kg to the poor, and spend on housing, rural power supply, health care and education.
The aim of the package is to mitigate the effects of the economic downturn, state finance minister Asim Dasgupta said, adding that it is “just a coincidence” that such a situation had arisen before the general election due in the summer.
The state government will spend Rs370 crore in the next fiscal to subsidize rice sold to 19 million poor through the public distribution system. It put aside Rs500 crore under the package to buy land for industrial units.
Dasgupta also announced that the state government would be spending Rs1,000 crore till March 2010 to boost housing for the poor, both in rural and urban areas.
He did not, however, indicate how this money would be spent. The state also proposes to spend Rs450 crore for rural electrification and Rs375 crore on building rural road connectivity in 2009-2010.
The state government said 50,000 new primary school teachers would be recruited, and that it would spend Rs100 crore till March next year to build new schools. Under the package, the health sector and backward areas of the state would receive Rs200 crore each in fiscal support.