regular-article-logo Sunday, 28 May 2023

Bengal government orders monitoring of welfare outreach

Sources in the state administration said the move had been initiated in the backdrop of the Centre’s decision to stop the release of funds under several rural schemes

Our Special Correspondent Calcutta Published 01.03.23, 03:32 AM
Mamata Banerjee.

Mamata Banerjee. File Picture

The Bengal government has asked district administrations to monitor the state’s flagship welfare programmes with utmost urgency and initiate steps to ensure that all eligible people get benefits on time.

Chief secretary H.K. Dwivedi recently directed district magistrates to assign specified areas to additional district magistrates for the proper monitoring of the flagship programmes. “The ADMs will find out whether the schemes are being run smoothly by visiting villages. They will also enquire if anybody is left out of any of the flagship programmes. It is the responsibility of the ADM concerned to ensure that the left-out person is included in the list of beneficiaries by March 31,” said a senior state government official.


Sources in the state administration said the move had been initiated in the backdrop of the Centre’s decision to stop the release of funds under several rural schemes. Nobody has received funds under the rural housing scheme even though a list of 11 lakh beneficiaries was finalised.

Moreover, people who worked under the 100-day rural employment scheme between December 2021 and March 2022 did not get wages as the Centre stopped the release of funds alleging financial irregularities under the project.

“People have grievances over these issues. Common people don’t know whose responsibility it is to pay them. They only hold the local gram panchayat responsible for the non-payment of wages. A majority of the panchayats are run by the Trinamul Congress. In this background, the monitoring of the flagship programmes holds significance,” said a bureaucrat.

The sources said the state government wanted to bring in as many people as possible under its flagship programmes like Lakshmir Bhandar and Krishak Bandhu and various pension schemes. “If the government can ensure that people get the state’s benefits on time, it will be easier for the ruling party to counter the BJP saying the Centre has deprived the people of Bengal of funds. That is why the state wants its schemes to run smoothly ahead of rural polls,” said a source.

A DM said the government was depending so heavily on the state’s flagship programmes ahead of the rural polls that it might change its plan to issue notification for the elections by March. The monitoring and inspection of the flagship programmes will continue till March 31 and all the left-out people will be brought under the schemes by then.

“Initially, it was planned that the notification for the rural polls could be issued by the second week of March and they could be held by mid-April. But now, it appears the notification could be issued by the first week of April and the polls could be held by the end of April,” said the DM.

The sources also said the government had first sensed that people had grievances against the panchayats after Trinamul had launched the Didir Doot programme. Trinamul leaders were visiting remote areas under the party programme to take note of the ground reality ahead of the polls.

“As people started lodging complaints, the chief minister held a meeting with 15 departments on Monday to ensure that 5.5 lakh grievances lodged with the Trinamul leaders under the Didir Doot programme are redressed within one month. Now, an initiative has been taken to woo as many people as possible by ensuring benefits for them,” said a bureaucrat.

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