imbroglio over pending MGNREGA, other dues to West Bengal intensifies

 imbroglio over pending MGNREGA, other dues to West Bengal intensifies

The imbroglio over pending MGNREGS and other dues to West Bengal flared up again today with the delegation of MMC ministers, MLAs, and TMC MPs staging a protest at Rajghat alleging that the Centre has deliberately stopped the release of funds. The union Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh countered, saying West Bengal has issued 2.5 million fake MGNREGA job cards owing to which lakhs of government money was siphoned off.

He said the Government of India was continuously exposing the rigging in MGNREGA and the Rural Housing Scheme going on in West Bengal but the state government did not take appropriate action on it.

The issue echoed in the West Bengal Assembly as well, with the opposition BJP legislative party holding a protest on the staircase of the legislative assembly to counter the ruling TMC's protest programs in New Delhi.

As per a detailed reply made in Parliament earlier this month, funds under MGNREGS to West Bengal have been stopped since 9 March 2022 as per sections 27 of the MGNREG Act, 2005 due to non-compliance with directives of the Central Government.

The act was first instituted in December 2021, claiming widespread corruption and violation of guidelines.

On August 1st, 2023, a total unpaid amount of around 5583 crore has been pending towards the state under MGNREGS, with Rs 2770 crore being on account of pending wages, while the rest was for pending material payment.

Giriraj Singh also said the centre had a Monitoring Team in West Bengal, but said no immediate action was taken on their report by the state government.

He said that the state was asked to submit a comprehensive action taken report, but no action was taken by the state government.

The state was informed that not-submission of ATR in time could also lead to the withholding of funds under MGNREGA 2005.

After this, the state government presented an ATR report protecting the culprits.

The state government was not able to answer the questions asked when asked.

Singh said: 'I haven't heard a word from anyone on this matter since it happened,' he said.

On commitment of the Centre towards rural development of West Bengal, Singh said that West Bengal got only Rs 58,000 during the UPA government, while the same in the nine years of Narendra Modi government has risen to more than Rs 200,000 crore.

more than Rs 54,000 crore has been given to West Bengal in the past nine years, whereas during the time of UPA this figure was only Rs 14,900 crore.

Giriraj Singh said that while only 5400 crore rupees were spent during the UPA government, more than double the Rs 11,000 crore has been spent in the Modi government.

Under the leadership of Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana, only Rs 4400 crore was spent during the UPA government, whereas the Modi government gave Rs 30,000 crore to Bengal.

The Union Minister said today, under NRLM, the Bank Linkage of Didis of West Bengal is worth about 74,000 crores, while during the time of UPA it was only 600 crores.

While 111 crore man-days of work were created between 2006-2014 under MGNREGA, 240 crore man-days were created after 2014 under MGNREGA.

While Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana built only 1.5 million houses under the UPA, the Modi government gave houses to about 4.5 million poor people in West Bengal.

A spokesperson of the Trinamool Congress and member of the state committee accused the centre of destroying the rural employment scheme MGNREGA, saying it's an insult to Mahatma Gandhi.