Mamata Banerjee refutes Home Minister’s figures on Bengal


West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday gave a point-by-point rebuttal of the developmental indicators provided by Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his recent visit to West Bengal and added that he owed her a “dhokla” treat for being proved wrong.

For the second consecutive day, Ms. Banerjee held a press conference and said that West Bengal was the “number one in poverty eradication, rural housing, rural roads, 100-day work, minority scholarship and e-governance and e-tendering”.

“He [the Home Minister] made Bengal seem like a nightmare land…Where were you 11 years ago? Did you see Bengal then? I have no objection with the truth, but if there is no truth to the criticism, I will challenge it,” the Chief Minister said.

Ms. Banerjee said that while the Home Minister had said that the State ranked 20 when it came to industrial production whereas the State ranked fourth in these criteria. On the subject of foreign direct investment (FDI), the Chief Minister said that FDI inflows had increased from 0.22% in 2011 to 1.62% in 2019-20, marking an increase of over 736%, and ₹20,000 crore of foreign investment had come to the State.

Ms. Banerjee said that the law and order situation in the State had significantly improved under the Trinamool Congress (TMC) regime, and areas like Jangalmahal in the southwestern region, and the Darjeeling hills, had “all become peaceful”.

“According to NCRB ( National Crime Records Bureau) data, political killings, other incidents of crime and rape cases have decreased during the TMC rule. BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) leaders, while pointing fingers at others, should also speak up against the Hathras rape-murder incident in Uttar Pradesh,” the Chief Minister said, adding that Kolkata has twice been accorded India’s “safest city” tag.

Ms. Banerjee also pointed out that health indicators like the infant mortality rate, institutional delivery had also improved significantly in the TMC’s rule. “There are 85,642 beds in State government hospitals, which is much higher than the 58,647 beds [they had] in 2011,” she said.

Mr. Shah has targeted the Trinamool Congress, saying that the State had slipped in a number of development indicators and had become “number one in corruption, extortion and political violence”.

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