Rejecting the allegations of the West Bengal government of discrimination in rural development schemes, Union Minister for Rural Development Giriraj Singh said during a press interaction at Bihar’s Begusarai on Monday that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has allocated more money to the state than the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.
The Centre has been at the odds with the state, over the former alleging “misuse of funds”, while the latter claiming that funds for flagship schemes such as the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) have not been released. The Centre has not released funds under MGNREGS to WB since 2021 over alleged misuse of funds. The matter is now in the Calcutta High Court.
“More than Rs 54,000 crore were given to West Bengal in the past nine years, whereas during the time of UPA this figure was only Rs 14,900 crore,” said Singh.
This was even as party workers from the Trinamool Congress (TMC) from the state came down to the national capital on Monday on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti and gathered at Rajghat to protest against the Central government’s allegations of corruption and non-release of MGNREGS and other welfare schemes funds to WB.
Party workers plan to take the protest further on Tuesday against Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led NDA government for its “failure” in disbursement of various social security schemes to the state.
Meanwhile, the minister, during the press briefing, listed the achievements under various schemes, citing that 111 crore man-days were created under MGNREGS between 2006-14, 240 crore man days were created after 2014.
Alleging statewide corruption, Singh said the WB government issued 25 lakh fake job cards under MGNREGS due to which crores of government money was “siphoned off”.
The Centre has ordered several enquiries into the functioning of several centrally -funded schemes in the state including MGNREGS and PM Poshan (formerly mid-day meal) schemes.
“The WB government has not been cooperating with the Centre. The state was asked by the ministry on several occasions to submit a comprehensive action-taken report, but no such report was filed by the government. Non-submission of ATRs can amount to the Centre withholding funds for welfare schemes to states,” said Singh.