Known for voicing out issues concerning the minorities in the state,Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday surprised all those who were expecting her presence at the minority meet where,among other things,cabinet ministers argued about the priority position that the minority development has acquired in the Mamata-ruled government.
Inaugurating the session on behalf of the CM,state finance minister Amit Mitra pointed out the massive increase in the budget allocation for minorities since Mamata came to office in 2011. From Rs 330 crore in 2011-12 to Rs 870 crore this fiscal – a staggering jump of 160 per cent the allocation has meant that minorities continue to see development through self-employment schemes,education and loans for various enterprises,the minister said.
Over 5 lakh students were given scholarships and educational loans (amounting to Rs 103 crore),nearly 16,000 class IX and X girls were given bicycles (Rs 46 crore),steps were taken to set up vocational training centers,Urdu became the second official language in the state,and minority bhavans are being constructed in all districts, Mitra said while recounting the achievements.
The session,however,did not touch upon the ongoing buzz that the cabinet may soon witness a reshuffle with changes expected in departments that have not performed well. Chairman of the West Bengal Minority Development Finance Corporation,Abu Ayesh Mondal ruled out that the CMs absence from the meet had anything to do with her dissatisfaction over non-performance on minority issues.
The reshuffle assumes significance amid the discontent that exists among the minorities,who have,on various occasions most recently on Minority Rights Day (Wednesday) when minority groups took out a protest rally voiced grievances over the development initiatives.