West Bengal CM Meets PM Modi, Highlights Pending Claims for Centrally Sponsored Schemes and Natural Disasters
Mamata Banerjee Meets PM Modi : Critical Financial Crunch: Mamata Urges Release of Funds for MGNREGS, PMAY, PMGSY, NHM, and More
Social Schemes Stalled: PM Awaas Yojana Houses Await Central Share Despite State’s Special Efforts
New Delhi, 20 Dec (City Times) : (Mamata Banerjee Meets PM Modi) : West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has reached out to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking the urgent release of approximately Rs. 1.16 lakh crore owed by the Government of India. The dues encompass various Centrally Sponsored Schemes (CSS) and pending claims related to natural disasters over the past years. In a letter dated December 20, Mamata Banerjee outlined the financial crunch faced by the state, emphasizing the critical need for funds allocated to schemes like MGNREGS, PMAY, PMGSY, NHM, and more.
The Plea for Dues: The letter, addressed to Prime Minister Modi, sheds light on the due amount of nearly Rs. 1.16 lakh crore, which includes outstanding payments for core social schemes such as MGNREGS, PM Awaas Yojana, and NHM. Mamata Banerjee pointed out that despite the state’s compliance with CSS guidelines, the central share for the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) has not been released for nearly two financial years. The CM highlighted specific areas where funds are urgently needed, such as MGNREGA payments amounting to nearly Rs. 6911 crore, with pending liabilities against wage and non-wage components.
Issues in PM Awaas Yojana and Health Mission: Another concern raised by Mamata Banerjee pertains to the delay in releasing the central share for 11,01,731 houses sanctioned under PM Awaas Yojana. Despite the state’s initiatives to identify deserving households, the funds remain withheld. The CM also drew attention to the National Health Mission, where funds have been withheld by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The plea underscores the urgency of addressing these issues without political considerations.
Federalism Under Strain: Mamata Banerjee expressed concern over the imposition of central branding conditions for fund release, stating that it goes against the spirit of cooperative federalism. She highlighted the unfair practice of ministries requiring states to adopt central names, logos, and colors as a precondition for fund release. The CM urged PM Modi to intervene and ensure the release of funds to the state without further delay, emphasizing the importance of cooperative federalism.
West Bengal’s Economic Growth: In her letter, Mamata Banerjee provided insights into West Bengal’s economic growth, citing a significant increase in the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) over the last 12 years. Despite the burden of debt inherited from the previous regime, West Bengal’s GSDP has risen from Rs. 4.60 lakh crore in 2010-11 to Rs. 15.54 lakh crore in 2022-23, marking a remarkable threefold increase. Mamata Banerjee emphasized the state’s progress and achievements despite the challenges, showcasing its commitment to development.
Backdrop of Protests and Counter-claims: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) has been actively protesting against the central government, citing delays in fund allocation under MGNREGA and other social security schemes for West Bengal. However, the Ministry of Rural Development countered these claims, stating that fund release for West Bengal was halted due to non-compliance with directives, as per Section 27 of MGNREGA, starting from March 9, 2022.
Conclusion: Mamata Banerjee’s plea for the release of dues underscores the financial challenges faced by West Bengal and the critical importance of funds for ongoing schemes and disaster relief. The outcome of this appeal will not only impact the state’s financial stability but also test the collaborative spirit of federalism between the central government and the states. As the plea awaits a response, the urgency of resolving these financial matters remains paramount for the well-being of West Bengal’s citizens and the state’s developmental initiatives.