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Mamata focus on creating livelihoods

The chief minister’s focus indicated that the state government was trying to address the lack of job opportunities in the backdrop of the pandemic and public grievances ahead of the 2021 Bengal polls
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee

Pranesh Sarkar   |   Calcutta   |   Published 06.11.20, 01:09 AM

Mamata Banerjee on Thursday underscored employment opportunities under the 100 days’ job scheme and Matir Srishti, and focused on grievance redress while chairing the 475th administrative review meeting at Nabanna.

Her focus indicated that the state government was trying to address the lack of job opportunities in the backdrop of the pandemic and public grievances ahead of the 2021 Bengal polls.

“Though we are No. 1 in (implementing) NREGA (as the 100 days’ job scheme under MGNREGA is colloquially called) in the country, there are some districts where it has to be improved,” Mamata said, naming districts like East Burdwan, Cooch Behar and Nadia, where the scheme has to be implemented more seriously.

Sources said that primarily the chief minister is dependent on the scheme to create job opportunities across districts with many people lacking scope to earn post-lockdown.

“Overall, the state has created more than 24 crore mandays in the past eight months, which is the best performance in recent past... Now, the chief minister wants everybody to get a chance to earn a livelihood in the difficult time and that’s why she cautioned some districts lagging behind,” said a senior government official.

Mamata said that under Matir Srishti only two districts, Jhargram and Purulia, had done some work.

Under the scheme, barren land in districts such as Purulia, Jhargram, Bankura, West Midnapore, West Burdwan and Birbhum would be used to set up horticulture, poultry and fishery projects.

“In all, 50,000 acres have been identified and if schemes are implemented properly through self-help groups, more than one lakh employment opportunities can be generated,” an official said. However, only 10,400 acres could be used so far and 320 cooperative or farmer groups engaged.

Mamata asked officials to organise fairs —  following Covid-19 protocols — to help rural artisans display their wares and earn some money.

She also asked district authorities and departments to address grievances lodged with them or with the CMO.

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