The Trinamool Congress and the media have been consistently making the claim that all development works have been stalled because of an inertia of the Left Front Government. This is nothing but Goebblsian propaganda for two reasons. Firstly, whatever development work have been thwarted in the state is solely because of the disruptive activities of the Maoist-TMC gang up. Secondly, even in the midst of tremendous hurdles put up by the opposition, the Left Front Government is continuing with its pro-people developmental initiatives. The major policy initiatives of the Government are listed below:
The state government has distributed free land to 2,495 people for agricultural and dwelling purposes upto May of the current year. In the scheme 'Chash-O-Basobaser Bhumidan Prakalpa' for the purposes mentioned above 291 acres 07 decimal have been allotted. The beneficiaries include agricultural workers, rural artisans and fishermen. In addition, the government has also decided to buy land for people who are homeless and living in others land at a price which is 25% higher than the market price. So far the state government has purchased 611 acres 41 decimal of land for the scheme.
HOUSING FOR THE POOR
The state govt. has allocated Rs. 400 crore in the current financial year for construction of new dwelling units and renovation of the existing ones for all the homeless slum-dwellers and those who were not beneficiaries of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and remained without a shelter. Rs. 400 crore in the current financial year for construction of new dwelling units and renovation of the existing ones for all the homeless slum-dwellers and those who were not beneficiaries of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission and remained without a shelter.
In West Bengal, the first provident fund scheme for unorganized workers was started in the year 2000-01. Now, it is planned to extend the scheme to 44 new categories of workers including rickshaw pullers, hawkers, cobblers, porters, auto-rickshaw drivers etc. So far 17 lakh people are beneficiaries of this scheme. This scheme has also been linked with the health insurance scheme of the central government. Financial assistance has been provided to the workers of closed tea gardens and factories the amount for which has been increased from Rs 750 per head per month to Rs 1500 per head per month.
SPECIAL SCHEME FOR TRANSPORT WORKERS
The Left Front government has recently launched a comprehensive social security scheme for the workers of transport sector, which is the first of its kind and unique in India. This scheme will cover at least 14 lakh workers of bus, mini bus, taxi, auto rickshaws, truck, mini truck, waterways and other categories of mass transport. Under this scheme each worker will get a pension on monthly basis after retirement from 60 years of age till his death. But in case of disability of permanent nature caused by an accident, the worker will be entitled to get the pension since the occurrence of the accident. Apart from this, in case of accidental death, the family of the worker will receive a sum of Rs 1 lakh as financial assistance under the scheme.
West Bengal is showing the way amongst all the states in the country in taking development initiative for the minority community of the state. The Left Front Government is the first government in the country to accept the Ranganath Mishra Commission Report and announce 10% reservation for Muslim OBCs in the state.
A large number of scholarships have been started to benefit the students from the minority community. These include, state government scholarships to meritorious students, pre-matric and post-matric scholarships, means-cum-merit scholarships etc. In fact West Bengal has the highest number of scholarships for minority students in the country. On the other hand, the Government has also taken initiatives to modernize the madrasas and set up the Alia University. A large number of initiatives have also been taken to uplift the condition of women in the minority community. These schemes include special skill development and housing schemes for women, special drive to construct women’s hostels, a campus for girl students at Alia University etc.
PRICE RISE AND FOOD SECURITY
On the face of rising food prices, the Government of West Bengal has ensured that people belonging to BPL are provided with rice at Rs 2 per Kg. It is also proposed that this scheme be extended to cover the lowest 20% of the population living above the poverty line.
In West Bengal, for the improvement of productivity and employment in agriculture, irrigation has been given a lot or priority. The allocation for irrigation has been increased from Rs 209 crore last year to Rs 459 crore this year. This will go a long way in improving the irrigation facilities and increase the total irrigated area as a proportion of total agricultural area to 75%. In addition to this, the government has decided to set up 134 bio-villages and seed villages to ensure access to bio-technology for agriculture. As a result of continued effort of the government in the agriculture sector, the growth rate of agriculture in West Bengal in 2009-10 was 4.2% while that of India was 0.2%.
The Government of West Bengal has announced an Urban Employment Guarantee Act for the urban poor in the state. This will go a long way in addressing the employment problem and poverty in the urban areas in West Bengal.
A major initiative of the West Bengal government has been in terms of Self-employment schemes. These schemes have benefited 66,881 entrepreneurs. The Government has allocated another rs 120 crore for this scheme.
In addition to these the Left Front Government has continuously worked for the benefit of the poor and is committed towards furthering the interests of the people of the state. In the coming days too, such endeavour will continue.