TMC plans an agitation in Delhi after Centre witholds MNREGA funds: Here is how large-scale corruption have rocked Bengal

TMC plans an agitation in Delhi after Centre witholds MNREGA funds: Here is how large-scale corruption have rocked Bengal


As the central as well as Delhi authorities are busy preparing to host World leaders at the G20 Summit in Delhi, the Mamata Banerjee led TMC government in West Bengal has on September 6 written to the Delhi police seeking permission to hold a protest rally in the national capital against the centre’s decision to withhold the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) funds for West Bengal.

According to reports, TMC’s Rajya Sabha leader Derek O’Brien wrote three letters to DCP Parliament Street Police station, New Delhi, seeking permission to organise dharnas at Jantar Mantar, outside Krishi Bhavan and in front of Union agriculture minister Giriraj Singh’s residence on October 2 and October 3.

In the letters, O’Brien asked the Delhi Police for “permission for the Trinamool Congress to hold dharnas involving workers from the state of Bengal who have been denied wages under the MGNREGA scheme from 10 am. to 6 pm. on October 2 and 3 at Jantar Mantar, Krishi Bhavan, and outside the minister’s residence from 10 am. to 6 pm. on October 2 and 3.”

Abhishek Banerjee, national general secretary of the TMC, will lead the protests in New Delhi.

The letter was written after the central government decided to withhold Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) funds for West Bengal for the fiscal year 2023-24, extending the imposition of Section 27 of the MGNREGA, which allows for the suspension of funds for violations of rules in the scheme’s implementation by the state.

The decision was reportedly taken last week after a meeting with the West Bengal administration and the Centre on March 13.

This is not the first time that the ruling TMC government in West Bengal has been denied funds for central government schemes. The Centre had first invoked the rule in December 2021. In fact, West Bengal is the only State in the country against whom this Section 27 of the MGNREGA was invoked.

Since the central government decided to halt the disbursement of funds for central government schemes to the state, Mamata Banerjee and her party loyalists have attempted to accuse the union government of discriminating against Bengal by failing to provide the state with its fair share of funds under centrally-sponsored schemes. The party has been feverishly defending itself against allegations of gross malfeasance and corruption by its employees in numerous centrally-sponsored development initiatives and projects.

The truth, however, is that the fund disbursal was suspended only after large-scale anomalies in the implementation of the welfare schemes of the central government including the  (MGNREGA) by Trinamool functionaries, especially in the rural areas, had been exposed.

Central govt stopped fund disbursal to WB after large-scale anomalies by Trinamool functionaries unearthed

As per the scheme’s norms, a job cardholder can directly approach the panchayat or other implementing agencies for work and is entitled to get at least 100 days of work. However, in West Bengal, a large number of Trinamool officials in rural areas have been accused of placing ineligible people, including family members, on PMAY beneficiary lists.

The list of PMAY beneficiaries in Bengal was discovered to be filled with wealthy individuals with ties to the ruling party, as well as children, wives, and close relatives of Trinamool functionaries.

Similarly, Trinamool employees in rural organizations have been accused of distorting MGNREGA beneficiary lists, generating bogus job cards, and misrepresenting records of assets produced under the scheme in order to siphon off funds, among other violations.

The union administration suspended fund disbursement after central audit teams discovered these large-scale errors and malfeasance.

BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari accuses TMC govt of creating fake data to claim employment generation in rural Bengal

It may be recalled that in 2022, BJP leader Suvendu Adhikari had taken to X, formally Twitter to share the letter he had written to Union Rural Development Minister Griraj Singh seeking an investigation against Mamata Banerjee administration in West Bengal. Asking for a CBI probe or a probe by any central agency, the BJP leader alleged that the WB Govt was creating ‘fake’ jobs and misusing the job holder details to create false employment data.

Alleging that the details of the Job Card holders are being used arbitrarily and at whim by the Mamata Banerjee administration, the BJP leader said that if an audit is conducted the following facts would certainly be revealed:

  • The Jobs/Works against such “so-called employment” that have been generated are mostly fake. The Administration won’t be able to provide the Work Orders or Tender Details of the Jobs/Works to tally such employment.
  • The mode of payment to the labourers is questionable & lacks clarity. An inquiry must be done whether the payment has been made in cash. If so, then who made such payment & for which job? Whether the person/agency making such payment has been actually assigned to execute such a job. And if the payment has been made through account transfer, in that scenario the Administration must come clean regarding the money trail.
  • A large number of Job Card holders’ details seem to be fake. The figures for the Job Card holders are hugely exaggerated. If compared to the 2011 Census it would be found that the job cards issued in a Block seem to outnumber the people residing in that area.

Saying so, BJP Leader Suvendu Adhikari urged Union Rural Development Minister Griraj Singh to launch an investigation against Mamata Banerjee’s administration in West Bengal.

In fact, for the uninitiated in 2019, Mamata Banerjee herself had inadvertently admitted that ‘cut money’ was taken by members of her own party, for implementing the welfare schemes of the government.

Mamata Banerjee’s MGNREGA lie

In 2013, two years into office, Mamata Banerjee made big claims of development, especially about providing 100 days of work to unemployed adults under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA). Her government claimed that the state topped the chart in 2012-13 with the implementation of projects worth Rs 4475.80 crore, which is the highest in the country and generated employment for 57.76 lakh families. 

TMC government’s ad in a local newspaper made tall claims of topping the development scale.

This also turned out to be nothing but a deception. The national statistics then suggested that West Bengal ranked 24th on the list. The then Union Minister of State for Urban Development Deepa Dasmunsi had said in a statement: “The state has ranked 24th on the list, whereas the (Trinamool) government very boastfully claimed otherwise. It easily nailed the lie of the state administration as they are misleading people with wrong information ahead of the panchayat elections”.

The national statistics also suggested that West Bengal dipped to the 35th position in the list in the year 2019.

So, contrary to the lie peddled by Mamata Banerjee about topping the MGNREGA chart, there has been an unprecedented growth of unemployment under the TMC rule. Between October 2016 to 2020, unemployment in West Bengal has grown by an astounding 217 per cent.

West Bengal also always has the highest percentage of delayed MGNREGA payments and it is plagued by TMC’s cut-money across the state, where workers are forced to pay hefty sums to avail work under the scheme.

Though all facts have been out in the open the Trinamool top leadership has succeeded time and again in fooling the people of the state by distancing itself from the corrupt within the party’s ranks, corruption and extortion have become too endemic within the party to be rooted out. This letter to the Delhi Police requesting permission to protest the central government for withholding Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) funds for West Bengal for the fiscal year 2023-24 could be a new strategy of the Mamata-led government to mislead the public by diverting attention from the widespread corruption inside her own party due to which the central government has been compelled to withhold the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) funds for West Bengal.


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