Assuring that the government’s new austerity measures will not affect public welfare schemes, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday said the aim was to cut down on wasteful expenditure.
The chief minister chaired a meeting at the state secretariat, Nabanna, to discuss effective utilisation of resources.
“We have to avoid wastage of resources, but not at the cost of public services. We have to stop wasteful expenditure and spend money on necessary services instead. We cannot compromise on schemes like Kanyashree, Sabuj Shree, Sikshashree and Sabuj Sathi. Yet, we feel there are several untouched areas where we have to reduce our spending. At times, faulty tendering for some technical reasons results in loss of money. We have to take remedial measures for the same,” she said.
Mamata said the state government was trying its best to serve the public despite a huge debt burden and the Centre’s “step-motherly attitude”.
“We have to focus on planning, create an outline and set timelines for projects. For that, we will provide counselling and training. Finance department will conduct training programmes. PWD will also train its engineers. We have set up a committee headed by the Chief Secretary to adjust and re-adjust human resources. We have set up a project clearance committee,” she said.
The chief minister also reiterated that the government would have to spend Rs 5,000 crore extra to give dearness allowance (DA) to its employees and that this year, it will have to pay Rs 46,000 crore on debts incurred by the erstwhile Left Front government.
“We have increased planned expenditure by five times in the last seven years, capital expenditure has increased four times, physical infrastructure has grown by four times and social spending has increased more than fourfold. We are continuously reforming the system. We have reduced the number of departments from 63 to 51 after merging 12 of them. At a time when farmers are in distress all over the country, we have tripled farmers’ income. The government’s money is the people’s money… Our approach is completely people-centric,” she said.
‘TMCP chief removed from post’
The Trinamool Congress has removed Trinamool Chhatra Parishad (TMCP) state president Jaya Dutta from the post, sources said.
Sources said the decision was taken by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee after some student wing’s leaders were accused of being involved in “cash for college seats” schemes.
A new TMCP state president will be appointed within 10 days, said the source. Dutta was unavailable for comment.