Mamata promises to pay MGNREGA dues from state resources
Kolkata: Making the non-payment of central dues to West Bengal government under various centrally-sponsored schemes an election issue, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday promised to pay the beneficiaries under the 100-day MGNREGA job scheme from the state’s own resources if the Centre does not release the dues.
Although she promised to clear dues of 21 lakh beneficiaries under the 100-day job scheme, to be transferred to their accounts by February 21 from the state’s resources, Banerjee remained vague on what will be the total payout under this head and also how the state government will arrange such huge funds.
“The Union government is thinking of depriving the people of West Bengal of their legitimate financial dues. They have kept on hold the dues of 21 lakh beneficiaries under the 100-day job scheme.
“So, I am announcing my first step — the state government will pay this entire amount which will be transferred to the bank accounts of the 21 lakh beneficiaries by February 21,” the Chief minister said from the dais of the two-day sit-in-demonstration in Kolkata against pending central dues, which concluded on Saturday.
As regards the source of the funds, Banerjee said, “It is public money that will go back to the public.”
She also did not spell out the total burden that will be put on the state exchequer on account of the huge payout.
However, sources in the state finance department said that the amount will be nothing less than Rs 7,500 crore.
Economists feel that in all probability, the state government will soon go for another major tranche of hefty market borrowing to meet this expense.
Another probability, according to economists, is that a portion of the unused funds allocated to different state government departments during the ongoing fiscal might be used to meet these expenses.
Banerjee also said that she will soon make an announcement regarding payments under the PMAY scheme.