THE WEST Bengal government has proposed a grant of Rs 50,000 each for 50,000 workers who have reportedly returned to the state from across the country after losing their jobs due to demonetisation. The state government allocated a total amount of Rs 250 crore for this purpose in the annual Budget tabled on Friday. It also announced a “special assistance fund” of Rs 100 crore for farmers hit by demonetisation. “Every state in the country is experiencing economic slowdown due to demonetisation and West Bengal is also suffering. Under the present economic slowdown, it is a challenge for us to continue with all our social welfare projects. Recently, demonetisation has forced thousands of skilled workers from across the country to return to the state. These workers are living in pitiable conditions. We have decided to create a data bank of such workers who will be provided a grant of Rs 50,000,” said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.
According to the Budget statement, Rs 50,000 each will be provided to 50,000 workers to help them start their own business. “I have not come here to tell lies but only to state facts. We are having difficulties in creating employment opportunities for our people. Still, we have allocated a budget of Rs 250 crore in this Budget to help the skilled workers. No other state has taken such a measure so far post-demonetisation,” said Banerjee. She said the Budget was presented “with a warm heart”, as compared to the Centre’s “directionless” and “heartless” Budget. “Despite all difficulties, we have been able to somehow sustain the growth in our state. However, the cure for a serious illness cannot be found in a day. It will take six-seven months to cure the disease,” she said.
“The adverse effect of demonetisation is now reflected on the employment and life of the common people. Due to the tsunami of demonetisation, the lives of lakhs of unorganised workers in small and micro businesses and dreams of farmers are now shattered. In our state, it has affected lakhs of workers engaged in tea gardens, jute industries, leather industries, textiles, handicrafts as well as self-help groups. This disaster has not only affected Bengal, but the trade and industry of the entire country,” said Finance Minister Amit Mitra. “Our farmers were affected as they could not procure fertilisers, seeds etc. The operative credit, on which a large section of our farmers are dependent, was completely paralysed due to demonetisation. A special assistance fund of Rs 100 crore will be created to mitigate the sufferings of these farmers,” said the Budget statement.