Embroglio over MGNREGS, other dues to West Bengal continues

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Embroglio over MGNREGS, other dues to West Bengal continues

The imbroglio over pending MGNREGS and other dues to West Bengal flared up again on Monday with a delegation of Trinamool Congress MPs, MLAs and ministers staging a protest at Rajghat in the national capital, alleging that the Centre had deliberately stopped the release of funds.

West Bengal's Union Rural Development Minister Giriraj Singh countered that the government had issued 2.6 million fake MGNREGS job cards due to which millions of rupees of government funds were siphoned off. Singh said the government of India was continuously exposing the rigging in the MGNREGS and the rural housing scheme in West Bengal, but the state government did not take any appropriate action. Singh was speaking at a press conference on the issue in Bihar.

The issue echoed in the West Bengal Assembly as well, with the opposition BJP protesting on the staircase of the Legislative Assembly to counter the ruling TMC's protest in New Delhi.

A detailed reply to the parliament in a few months back said funds under the MGNREGS to West Bengal have been stopped since March 9, 2022, in accordance with the provisions under section 27 of the MGNREG Act, 2005, due to non-compliance with directives of the central government. The law was first instituted in December 2021, alleging widespread corruption and violation of guidelines.

Under the MGNREGS, total unpaid dues of Rs. 5,583 crore were pending towards the state, of which Rs. 2,770 crore was 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 no timely action has taken on their report by the state government. The state was asked on several occasions to submit a comprehensive action taken report, but no action was taken by the state government.

The state was told in time that non-submission of an ATR in time could also lead to the withholding of funds under MGNREGA. After this, an ATR, protecting the culprits, was presented by the state government, he alleged. The state government was also not able to answer the questions of corruption, he said.

Singh said that India's economy is still in a downturn, and he is confident that it will be able to survive despite a surge in demand.

On the commitment of the centre towards rural development of West Bengal, Singh said that West Bengal got only Rs 58,000 crore during the UPA government, while the same has been the same in the nine years of the Narendra Modi government.

Over the past nine years, more than 54,000 crores were given to West Bengal, whereas during the UPA's term this figure was only Rs 14,900 crore.

Singh said that, under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, while only Rs 5400 crore was spent by the state during the UPA government, more than double Rs 11,000 crore had been spent in the Modi government.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Government, only Rs 4,400 crore was spent on the UPA government, while the Modi government gave Rs 30,000 crore to Bengal.

Under NRLM, the Bank Linkage of Didis of West Bengal is worth about 74,000 crore, whereas during the time of UPA it was only 600 crore rupees.

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

The TMC spokesperson, Biswajit Dev, accused the centre of destroying the rural employment scheme MGNREGS and said it's an insult to Mahatma Gandhi.