February 9, 2021 2:02:27 am
A day after Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed the TMC government for not implementing Central schemes in West Bengal and accused it of being unsympathetic towards farmers, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday told the Assembly that it has become the Prime Minister’s “habit to tell lies” as her government has already sent the names of 2.5 lakh farmers — eligible for benefits under the PM Kisan scheme — to the Centre.
At a BJP rally in Haldia on Sunday, PM Modi had said, “Under immense pressure, the Trinamool government recently agreed to participate in the PM Kisan scheme, but did not give us any account details of state agencies to transfer the money to the farmers directly. Even as 26 lakh aware farmers registered with the scheme on their own, the state government sent us a verified beneficiary list of only 6,000 farmers. This is the extent of apathy the government has for the farmers.”
Speaking in the Assembly on the last day of the concluding session Monday, Banerjee asked why the Centre has not disbursed any cash benefit to the 2.5 lakh beneficiaries yet. “It has become Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s habit to tell lies. He is saying that the state government is not allowing implementation of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi in Bengal. It is incorrect. They have a separate portal for the scheme in which 22 lakh farmers from the state are said to be enrolled… They have provided us the data of 6 lakh of them for verification. We have already completed verification of 2.5 lakh farmers and the verified list has already been sent to the Centre. Why is the Centre not initiating transfer of benefits to these farmers?,” she asked.
The Chief Minister also said all farmers should benefit from the PM Kisan scheme, irrespective of their land holdings. The Central scheme provides cash benefit to farmers with a combined landholding of up to two hectares.
Banerjee said the Prime Minister, during his visit to the state after cyclone Amphan, had announced an aid of just Rs 1,000 crore. “I have never seen such a cruel government. We had to spend more than Rs 2,542 crore over and above the last Budget to meet the situation due to Amphan and Covid-19,” she said, presenting a supplementary budget.
The Chief Minister was responding to questions raised by members of the House during a debate on a vote-on-account that she had presented on February 5.
Banerjee had presented a vote-on-account for Rs 2.99 lakh crore in the Assembly and made several announcements, including a hike in the annual aid of farmers. The TMC chief had increased the annual financial assistance for farmers under the state government’s ‘Krishak Bandhu’ scheme to Rs 6,000 from Rs 5,000.
Banerjee also took on the Opposition for criticising her vote-on-account and saying it was done with an eye on the polls. She said even if that was right, it was done for the welfare of the people and claimed that her party would return to power in the state.
At the final photo-session, the TMC chief flashed a victory sign and said, “I will be back.”
“Now that polls are round the corner in West Bengal, it seems that there is nothing else for BJP but Bengal. In this election, all its leaders and ministers are coming to areas in the state about which they do not even know. Gujarat will never be able to rule Bengal,” she said.