Mamata Banerjee counters Narendra Modi on PM-KISAN scheme

Centre’s insistence on transferring money directly responsible for denial of benefits to Bengal’s farmers, says MP

Updated - December 03, 2021 05:45 am IST

Published - December 25, 2020 05:17 pm IST - Kolkata

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. File

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. File

Countering the charge made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that farmers in West Bengal are being denied benefits of the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi for “political reasons”, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday said that Mr Modi was trying to “mislead the people with half-truth and distorted facts”.

“I personally have written two letters and have even spoken to the concerned Minister two days ago but they are refusing to cooperate and are instead indulging in malicious propaganda for political gains. When we are implementing so many schemes with Central government, the question of not cooperating on a scheme that is benefitting farmers seems absurd,” Ms. Banerjee said in a statement.

 

Alleging that the BJP-led government at the Centre was indulging in politicking even at the cost of “violating the established practices and norms regarding the implementation of Central Schemes by State governments, Ms. Banerjee also alleged that “Modi Government has done nothing to help the State of West Bengal”.

Dues withheld

“They are yet to release even a portion of the ₹85,000 crore of outstanding dues that includes unpaid GST dues of ₹8,000 crore. If he genuinely wants to help the State, he must release at least a part of these funds so that we are in a better position to address our needs,” the Chief Minister said.

Referring to the protests at Delhi by farmers against the recent farm laws, Ms. Banerjee said the Prime Minister showed his “apparent concern for the farmers through a televised address, instead of proactively working to resolve their issues”. Ms. Banerjee has earlier expressed support to the farmers agitation and sent delegations of party MPs twice to the venue and spoken to the protesting farmers over telephone.

Earlier in the day the Trinamool Congress leadership said that it was the Centre’s insistence on directly transferring money to farmers that was the reason behind denial of benefits to the farmers.

Federal structure

“The State government has written to the Centre saying that they are willing to distribute the money once it is transferred to the State government. What is the problem to transfer money to the State government in a federal set up,” asked senior Trinamool Congress leader and Lok Sabha MP Saugata Roy. He added that if anyone is to be blamed for denial of benefits of PM Kisan to farmers of West Bengal it is the Centre.

The Trinamool Congress leader said the West Bengal government under its Krishak Bandhu Scheme is already transferring ₹5,000 per acre to farmers of the State. The State government has already transferred ₹2,642 crore so far and 47 lakh farmers have benefitted from the scheme.

The issue of non- implementation of PM Kisan has been a major political issue in West Bengal. A number of BJP leaders including party president J.P. Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah have on several occasions raised the issue during their visits to the State.

Reacting to the days developments, State BJP president Dilip Ghosh said the Chief Minister is willing to implement only those schemes of Centre where there is scope of earning “ cut money”.

“In the PM Kisan scheme the money will go directly to the account of farmers therefore she is opposing it,” Mr. Ghosh alleged.

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