West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in getting released West Bengal’s share from Centre vis-a-vis a number of schemes, including MGNREGA and PM Awas Yojana, saying the non-release of funds have put the rural population in “great distress”.
Banerjee, who is on a four-day visit to Delhi, raised the matter with Modi during a meeting which lasted around 40 minutes at the Prime Minister’s Office.
Soon after meeting the PM, Banerjee also paid a courtesy visit to President Droupadi Murmu.
Banerjee handed over a memorandum to the PM listing many Central schemes, including Samagra Shiksha Mission, Mid-Day Meal, Swachh Bharat Mission (rural), food subsidy under the National Food Security Act, among others, for which the Centre purportedly owes funds to the state.
“With such a large amount (Rs 1,00,968.44 crore) remaining outstanding on account of core sectors, you would no doubt appreciate that it is becoming extremely difficult for the state government to run the affairs and take care of the people of the state,” the West Bengal CM wrote.
While the Trinamool Congress leadership has maintained that Banerjee’s meeting with Modi was “purely administrative”, there were political speculations around it, particularly in light of the proceedings of the Enforcement Directorate against former West Bengal cabinet minister Partha Chatterjee in an alleged teacher recruitment scam.
Even on Friday, the Trinamool leadership dismissed those speculations, saying Banerjee used the meeting to secure the state’s interests. Banerjee did not speak to the Press after the meeting.
In the memorandum, Banerjee stressed that she has been raising the issue of dues with the PM periodically, including as recently as June 9 and May 12.
Newsletter | Click to get the day’s best explainers in your inbox
“MGNREGA is a major wage-earning support of the economically weaker sections in the rural areas. Awas Yojana and Gramin Sadak Yojana are significant schemes for housing and rural connectivity,” stated the memorandum, adding that funds were not being released despite the state government complying with all the directions of the Centre.
“However, funds have not yet been released…I may also add that West Bengal is the front-runner in the country in executing these schemes…,” Banerjee pointed out in her written submission to the PM.
On Saturday, Banerjee is scheduled to attend a meeting of the national committee on the ‘Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav’ at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. She will also participate in a meeting of the Niti Aayog Governing Council on Sunday.