West Bengal Government to launch a scheme to provide 100 days work

The stoppage of funds to MGNREGA since December 2021 had brought the key, panchayat implemented Central scheme to a complete halt in the State

August 01, 2023 09:05 pm | Updated 09:05 pm IST - Kolkata

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee. File

West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee. File | Photo Credit: ANI

With the funds to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) stopped in West Bengal for almost 18 months, the State government is mulling over its own scheme for providing 100 days work to the people of the State. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has brought back her 2021 Assembly poll slogan ‘Khela hobe’ (the game is on) for the reinvention of the scheme. She has said it will take a few months to bring out its modalities.

The development assumes significance as the new Board at the three tier panchayats after the recently concluded panchayat polls will be operational in the State from August 16. A 100 days of work under the MGNREGA has remained one of the key schemes implemented through the panchayats in the State, and the stoppage of funds since December 2021 has brought it to a complete halt in West Bengal.

Funds to the tune of ₹2,786 crore under the MGNREGA are pending with the Centre and no allocation was made to the State for the years 2022 and 2023. Lakhs of workers have been denied wages due to them. 

The Centre has stopped providing funds to the State under Section 27 of the MGNREGA Act, which says the Central government may order stoppage of release of funds to the scheme and institute “appropriate remedial measures for its proper implementation within a reasonable period of time”. The Ministry of Rural Development had stopped the funds based on allegations of corruption in the implementation of MGNREGA in West Bengal.

Anuradha Talwar of the Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samiti (PBKMS) said that it would be important to know how much funding the State government will make available for the newly announced scheme. A petition by the PBKMS, demanding the wages of MGNREGA workers be paid, is pending before the Calcutta High Court. 

Ms. Talwar said that work by the State government is carried out through contractors and proper tendering, and if the government wishes to implement 100 days of work, it would have to come out with a process for selecting beneficiaries.

Motion against stoppage

Trinamool Congress (TMC) MLAs on Tuesday tabled a motion in the West Bengal Legislative Assembly on the Centre’s stoppage of funds to the State. 

Minister of State for Finance Chandrima Bhattacharya, who participated in the debate, said funds under various schemes, including the PM Awas Yojana and MGNREGA, had not been paid to the State. Ms. Bhattacharya asked why those who toiled and worked under MGNREGA were being denied wages if the allegations of corruption were against panchayat functionaries.

The Leader of the Opposition in the State Assembly Suvendu Adhikari ,while participating in the debate, said that he had never wanted the funds for the Central schemes to be stopped to the State but had instead wanted corruption to be stopped. 

Mr. Adhikari pointed out that he had referred 17 department-wise complaints to the Union Minister for Rural Development, who had informed him through a letter that, except for two points, there was truth in the other complaints.

“When our parliamentary party went to meet the Union Minister for Rural Development, he did not meet the delegation. But instead, the Minister wrote a letter to the Leader of Opposition, West Bengal,” Ms. Bhattacharjee said, raising questions over the Ministry’s intent.

The Minister said that funds of ₹5,417 crore under the PM Awas Yojana were pending with the Centre.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has on several occasions raised the issue and said that the Centre was trying to impose an economic blockade on the State.  

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.