Kolkata: Raising concern over security of data of small businesses under the scheme for sanctioning speedy loans for micro, small and medium (MSMEs) enterprises, West Bengal Finance Minister Amit Mitra on Friday questioned who all are the beneficiaries of the programme.
He accused the Centre of committing a scam through the scheme and manipulating data to suppress the truth about economic growth.
During the Budget speech, Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal said the Centre undertook many effective steps to strengthen the MSME sector, which provides employment to crores of people and mentioned the scheme of sanctioning loans up to Rs 1 crore in 59 minutes.
"The 'MSMEs loans in 59 minutes' scheme is one of the biggest scams. You have created a website (for the scheme) and you have done competitive bidding. A company - CapitaWorld - was selected to take the data of small businesses.
"All data including identification number, income tax return, banks' statement of last six months, directors' and ownership details went to a company which was non-existent till 2015. The company was formed in 2015 and it suffered a loss in 2016. How was the company selected?" he asked.
Mitra also said when it was found moving towards a scam, "a State Bank entity was forced to take 60 per cent equity from the company".
"Who are going to get benefits of the scheme? Globally, many big companies were being charged for misusing personal data," Mitra said.
He also said the report of unemployment was not allowed to be released. "Central Statistics Office has been asked to say that the GDP growth was 8.1 per cent in the middle of demonetisation particularly, when there was relatively less GDP growth in the last quarter of 2016-17 and in the entire year, economic growth was 7.1 per cent.
"They are data manipulation masters," he said.
Not only black money generation, the west Bengal government said that hawala transactions have been taking place due to Centre's failure to put in place a GST regime which is seamless and transparent.
"It (hawala) is happening because there is no proper matching of invoices. It is a big scam. You failed to provide GST that is seamless and transparent. You created an opportunity for some people to make money by claiming input tax credit which is non-existent," he said.