With the panchayat polls against the backdrop, chief minister Mamata Banerjee is showering benefits on minorities and scheduled castes, two key constituents who stood behind her in the 2011 assembly polls.
Speaking at a public function at Barasat stadium on Monday, Mamata announced a industrial training institute at Motua headquarters in Thakurnagar (North 24 Parganas), minority bhawans with employment bank in each districts and recognizing 10,000 madrasas, apart from providing stipends to minority students and land patta for individuals.
The chief minister is expected to tour the districts with considerable minority and SC/ST population with more such welfare schemes.
The state government is planning to bring the panchayat polls ahead to December-January from the scheduled date of 2013 summer.
"My minority brothers and sisters do not know about their welfare schemes. They run around without any jobs. Therefore, we have decided to set up minority bhawan in each districts, where they can come and avail themselves of the welfare schemes. Moreover, there will be special chapter in employment bank for minorities in the districts,” said Mamata Banerjee while addressing the audience.
"Today we are giving out stipends, scholarships and pattas to 75,000 members of the minority community. Our government will do whatever it can for you people despite the funds crunch we are facing. I will again come back here and announce more initiatives for the minorities," said Mamata Banerjee.
She stated that the government is in the process of changing legislation paving the way for recognition of 10,000 madrasas. The law related to government recognition is being made flexible to incorporate the madrasas.
The chief minister stated that in this state budget the allocation for minority department has been hiked 73% to accommodate welfare schemes.
She also stated that the government is trying to talk to the center for easier documentation of Haj pilgrims, many of who do not know to apply. Recently, Mamata Banerjee courted controversy after offering Rs 2,500 as honorarium to 30,000 imams of the state apart from giving them three cottah land and grants to build a house. Bengal has nearly 28% minority population.
“We will also set up industrial training centers in different areas including Thakurnagar,” she said. Significantly Thakurnagar is the headquarters for the Motua community (SCs).
Earlier during the Assembly polls, Mamata Banerjee not only gave ticket to Manjul Krishna Thakur one of the community leaders but also made him a minister (MoS, rfugee relief and rehabilitation) later. The Motuas, a sect formed by SCs, account for roughly 30 lakh votes in the around 70 assembly constituencies.
The chief minister also announced that her MPs would give out Rs 1 crore and MLAs would give Rs 5 lakh each for stadiums built in their respective constituencies. The money would be utilized to develop sports in the districts.