West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to convene a meeting of all chief minister to settle the issue of devolution of taxes to states and retain subsidies for various development programmes.
Banerjee called upon chief ministers of all states to raise their voice against the ‘anomaly’ and fight till the demands were met.
“The Prime Minister should immediately convene a meeting of all chief ministers. Earlier, we voiced our concern before the Planning Commission. But it has been disbanded,” Banerjee said after felicitating some Self Help Groups at a programme.
She pointed out that the devolution of taxes to states was much less compared to collection from states and that the Centre had also stopped funding for many social projects.
“They are withdrawing subsidies. One day they will withdraw the whole country,” she said sarcastically.
“NITI Aayog is na idhar ka na udhar ka (neither here nor there). If I don’t get funds how will I carry on with various development projects?” she wonderded.
Banerjee also came down hard on the Centre for stopping or drastically reducing the funding of several social sector projects like mid-day meal, ICDS, police modernisation, Sarba Siksha Abhiyan and Jangalmahal Development programmes, among others.
She demanded that the Centre restore funding of all these schemes immediately and also voiced her long-standing demand for the Centre’s sharing of the huge debt burden carried over from the erstwhile Left Front government.
“Why do I have to pay for the sins of the Left Front Government?” she wanted to know.
She felicitated several Self Help Groups entirely run by women at “Anandadhara Sammelan-2015”, organised by the state Panchayat and Rural Development Department.
She pointed out that her government was providing subsidy of 30 per cent to the SHGs, which was earlier 10 per cent.
She urged all banks to provide financial assistance to these SHGs as they are the future of the country adding the interest rate on loans to SHGs has been reduced to two per cent from four per cent earlier.
Taking pride in the achievements of the SHGs, Banerjee said that of late a lot of scope for selling their products has come up with a number of festivals and events regularly organised by the government.
The chief minister said that in future the products of SHGs would go global with Biswa Bangla, a brand of the state government.
Around 1,000 active SHGs were provided with one-time financial assistance at the programme. Fifty-one cooperatives were also felicitated and one-time financial assistance was provided to them.
She further elaborated on various benefits extended by the state government to the Centre to make the SHGs more active.
Three districts in the state were awarded for their successful initiatives in providing assistance to the SHGs run by women.