New Delhi: The Planning Commission on Tuesday approved a 16 percent hike in Plan outlay for West Bengal for the current fiscal at Rs 25,910 crore compared to the previous year's allocation, a decision welcomed by the state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The Plan size was finalised here at a meeting between Commission's Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

"I am happy to announce that a Plan size of Rs 25,910 crore has been approved for the West Bengal for 2012-13. That is an increase of over 16 percent as compared to allocation in previous financial year," Ahluwalia said after the meeting.

During the discussion on the Plan outlay, Ahluwalia said, "We had comprehensive discussion on infrastructure projects and possibility of using PPP for that. We have offered support to state government on PPP initiative".

"We are really grateful to the Planning Commission. The Plan outlay has been increased by about 16 percent. We discussed about the road infrastructure, education, minorities, industry and agriculture also," Banerjee told reporters.

She said, "We discussed the potential of 10 lakh employment opportunities in the 12th Five Year Plan (in the state)".

Demanding a three year moratorium on the repayment of interest on debt, Banerjee said, "West Bengal is debt-ridden state. If our income is Rs 21,000 crore and we are paying Rs 20,000 crore as interest, then how come we will address state's issue?"

"We have not created this problem. It is a Left legacy. But people are facing this problem because of the legacy. That is why we want minimum three year moratorium on repayment," she added.

While acknowledging the issue, Ahluwalia said, "The decision on moratorium is in realm of Finance Ministry."

Ahluwalia said, "It is true that West Bengal is one of the states which is debt-ridden and it is reflected in the data also. It is certainly true that the state government is presently bearing the burden of debt than average burden of other states".

According to the state finances report of RBI, West Bengal has a debt stock of around Rs 2 lakh crore.

Asked whether she is happy with the allocation as she had asked for more funds, She said "I have never asked more. We know our limitations".

The state had proposed a Plan outlay of Rs 24,800 crore for the current fiscal against the allocation of Rs 22,214 crore in 2011-12. State's expected expenditure in the previous fiscal is estimated at Rs 22,264 crore.

Banerjee said that despite financial constraints, the state has grown at a rate of 11.76 percent and her government was aiming at inclusive growth with sustainable development so as create adequate employment opportunities and food security to all.

She said development of social and infrastructure is on the top priority of the state and private sector is being encouraged to join in this effort through public-private partnership route.

Banerjee claimed that the state government's performance is very good in the last 5-6 months "is very good, which was bad in the last 35 years (of left rule)".

During the discussions, the Commission pointed out that a significant part of the state is relatively more backward economically, and also tends to be less advanced in term of human development as compared to other states.

Ahluwalia said the Commission is willing to participate in state's effort of expediting development process and offered to partner in pilot projects in the infrastructure sector so as to have a demonstrative impact.

(Agencies)