Thu, 30 Nov 2023

New Delhi [India], October 3 (ANI): West Bengal ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Monday countered claims of Union Minister Giriraj Singh that the Central assistance to various schemes to the state increased during the NDA-led government, saying that increasing funding over a period of 10 years is not charity but a necessity considering the changes in demography, economy and rising cost of living.

In a post on X, the TMC said that Giriraj Singh should get his facts straight before attacking the government of West Bengal and undermining the struggles of lakhs of deprived rural poor.

"Increasing funding over a period of 10 years is not charity but a necessity considering the changes in demography, economy and rising cost of living. Under the Awas Yojana, the GoWB compiled a list of 11.36 lakh eligible beneficiaries and submitted it to the Centre in November 2022. After conducting a thorough investigation by 69 Central Teams, it was concluded that there has been no major irregularities in the housing scheme, yet funds worth Rs 8,141 Cr have not been released," the TMC said.

It further said that even under MGNREGS, 48 Central teams were sent to assess its implementation. Despite the state government's compliance, they refuse to release funds worth Rs 6,907 Cr.

"Similarly, funding under MGNREGA and NRLM has to increase since these are demand-driven schemes. West Bengal has been one of the top performers in job-card holders, person-days generated and even in the formation of SHGs," it added.

The Mamata Banerjee-led ruling party also dismissed Giriraj's claims that the Centre has not withheld funds and called it"completely baseless".

"If we just go by simple statistics - a state which has continuously been in the top 2 performers of person-days generated suddenly dropped to 16th rank in FY 2022-23, ever since the funds were halted," it said.

Earlier in the day, Union Rural Development and Panchayati Raj Minister Giriraj Singh rejected allegations of the West Bengal Government on discrimination in rural development schemes.

Singh said that during the tenure of the present government, the West Bengal government has allocated more money for rural development schemes than the UPA government.

"While West Bengal got only Rs 58 thousand crore during the UPA government, the Ministry of Rural Development under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given more than Rs 2 lakh crore to West Bengal for development in the last 9 years. This shows the commitment of the Prime Minister of the country towards the development of West Bengal. Under schemes like MNREGA, more than Rs 54 thousand crore were given to West Bengal in the last 9 years, whereas during the time of UPA, this figure was only Rs 14,900 crore. Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, while only Rs 5,400 crore was spent during the UPA government, more than double Rs 11,000 crore has been spent in the Modi government," Singh said while addressing a press conference in Patna.

He further said that under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, only Rs 4,400 crore was spent during the UPA government, whereas the Modi government gave Rs 30 thousand crore to Bengal.

The Union Minister said that today under NRLM, the bank linkage of Didis of West Bengal is worth about Rs 74 thousand crores, whereas during the time of UPA, it was only Rs 600 crores.

"Apart from this, the present government gave approximately Rs 7 thousand crore under NSAP, whereas during the time of UPA, this figure was half of it. Under the Finance Commission, Rs 25 thousand crores were released to West Bengal, whereas during the UPA, only Rs 3,200 crores were allocated,"he added.

However, as the BKP is demanding a probe into the alleged scam in the MGNREGA scheme, the TMC said that the BJP is grasping at straws because it cannot look the people in the eye and justify their"vendetta politics".

"The sudden demand of a CBI probe while the State leadership along with the deprived beneficiaries are protesting in Delhi, seems oddly timed. Why deprive the people for so long if an investigation was needed all this time? Clearly, the BJP cannot look the people in the eye and justify their vendetta politics, so now they're grasping at straws, scared out of their wits," the TMC said.

Notably, the TMC held a protest in the national capital against the alleged denial of MGNREGA and other housing scheme funds by the central government to the state.

The protest was led by the party general secretary and MP Abhishek Banerjee. (ANI)

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