TMC govt failed to provide data on migrants, says FM
West Bengal could not be included in the Garib Kalyan Rozgar Abhiyan, to provide employment to migrant workers, because the Trinamool Congress (TMC) government did not provide relevant data to the Centre, Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Sunday, during a virtual rally of the state unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The scheme was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last week.
“In all, 116 districts in six states figure in the scheme, for which ₹50,000 crore has been sanctioned. But not a single migrant from Bengal is going to benefit from it because the state has not provided any data on migrant workers,” Sitharaman said in the rally, which was digitally telecasted on social media from Delhi.
“TMC has opposed every scheme that the Centre has launched so far. This is another example,” she added, referring to healthcare benefits under Ayushaman Bharat and monetary benefit for farmers under the Prime Minister’s Kishan Samman Yojna.
In response, Tapas Roy, senior TMC leader and minister of state for parliamentary affairs, said on Sunday, “The claim made by Sitharaman is bogus. The Centre never asked for any data from the government. She is the least efficient among all finance ministers the country has had. Let her first revive India’s economy. She should release the money the state owes to the Centre under several heads.”
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) also criticized the Centre on this issue. CPI(M) politburo member Md Salim said, “the BJP is not bothered about employment.”
Earlier this week, panchayat minister Subrata Mukherjee had said that the Centre could have simply checked the details provided by people who returned to Bengal in the Shramik Special trains.
On Sunday, Sitharaman took on the chief minister on a host of issues, ranging from the latter’s silence on Ram Mandir and the TMC’s opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.
“Once people used to say what Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow. In terms of development work done by the Centre in the last one year, we can’t see Bengal ahead of or with other states. It is lagging behind the rest,” said Sitharaman.
Reacting to Sitharaman’s reference to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, TMC Rajya Sabha member Derek O’Brien took on the finance minister on Twitter. “Brazen example of how a failed FM, instead of reviving the economy which is in the doldrums, and addressing the serious concerns of record unemployment, is making speeches on CAA & TT in times of #COVID19 and #Amphan, in a desperate attempt to revive the sinking BJP in Bengal,” wrote the MP.