Tribune News Service
Kolkata, December 1
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should “maintain” the dignity of his office.
Addressing a press conference here, Banerjee said, “You are the Prime Minister. We respect your chair. Please maintain it. Don’t accuse and abuse us every day”. The Chief Minister said that Bengal, where people cutting across religious and cultural differences live peacefully side by side, would not take these affronts lying down.
Modi, who was in Varanasi on Monday, indirectly targeted the West Bengal government and said that some states were not implementing the “Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana” of the central government.
Banerjee, who talked to reporters after a meeting of the state cabinet, exploded when she was questioned about Modi’s remark at Varanasi.
The Chief Minister said BJP primarily talked about three central schemes, which were not implemented in West Bengal. Mamata said that while the crop insurance scheme introduced by the central government entailed contribution from beneficiary, similar scheme offered by the state government provided insurance coverage totally free of cost.
On the refusal of West Bengal to implement the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme in the state, Banerjee said the state government gave Rs 5,000 to farmers annually in two instalments of Rs 2500 each. Also, agricultural land is revenue free in West Bengal. Moreover, in West Bengal Rs 2 lakh is given to the next of the kin in the case of death of any farmer who might be in the age group of 18 to 60 years, Mamata said.
On the non-implementation of the ‘Ayushman Bharat’ health insurance scheme in West Bengal, Banerjee said while the central scheme would have covered only a section of people, the ‘Swasthya Sathi’ scheme introduced by the TMC government gave free health coverage of up to Rs 5 lakh to all residents of West Bengal.
While all three above schemes entailed joint funding, these had been named after Prime Minister and were designed to give the impression to beneficiaries that these were largesse offered by the central government, Mamata said.
The Chief Minister said that with the abolition of the Planning Commission, the Modi government had done away with the system of obtaining input from states regarding allocation of funds.
“The Rs 1000 crore announced by Prime Minister while touring West Bengal after Cyclone Amphan for giving relief to people affected by the calamity was actually an advance and money was being deducted from the state on account of the monetary help,” Mamata said.
The state government had already spent over Rs 5000 crore for tackling the Covid pandemic. The only help that came from the central government in this regard were some ventilators, Mamata alleged.