, But lacked conviction
Mumbai/Shillong, January 19, 2023: Mamata Banerjee kick-started the Meghalaya Election campaign today with her Anti-BJP agenda, which primarily seems to be “her run-up” to the Lok Sabha Election, slated to be held in the year 2024. She’s long been yearning to occupy the hot seat in Delhi and Meghalaya might as well end up towards being a meagre pawn towards her much-awaited ambition.
As she’s put-up lofty claims for the good work her government has done in the State of West Bengal, let us put forth some significant data which would give us a fair idea as to how miserably they have failed in the last 11 years.
Joblessness and unemployment in West Bengal:
Government of W.B claims that they have created 10 million jobs, but as per the data available, State Employment Exchange reportedly has nearly 3.5 million jobseekers registered. Besides 2 lakh permanent jobs across various government departments, 1.5 lakhs of various teaching posts lie vacant. Around 1.3 million applicants for clerical jobs are anxiously waiting for their maiden call since the year 2018, while 6 lakh applicants for the post of sub-inspectors and inspectors are still in the “never-ending waiting queue.”
West Bengal has the second highest number of women job seekers as per Employment Exchange data available till the year 2020 – 24.6 lakhs more than Meghalaya’s total women population. One of the largest number of jobseekers on live register during the year 2019 were in West Bengal (77.6 lakhs)- as per data available from Employment Exchange.
It would be apt to mention in this context, that there’s been rampant corruption across various ranks of the government which are slowly getting unearthed, putting millions of aspiring lives in jeopardy.
To add more woes for the people of the State, Mamata Banerjee led government has a debt burden of Rs 4.31 lakh crores and over Rs 55,000 crore have been spent on debt servicing in 2019-20.
Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay, Minister of current ruling dispensation in W.B recently sparked outrage when he made a statement that students, those who have passed secondary examinations are ‘educated unemployed’. Nearly 12 lakh students appeared for the 10th board examination and 86% of them attained success. As per his version, all these students would unfortunately be considered “educated unemployed.”
Crisis for Unemployed Women:
A burning example of the unemployment crisis – About 40 undergraduate and postgraduate students had to undergo a training camp organised by Malda Employment Centre to become house helps or maids.This pathetically marks the plight of the employment scenario in West Bengal.
Unsuccessful unemployment schemes:
Much publicized student credit card scheme has miserably failed. Out of 1.12 Lakhs applicant only 0.37 got these credit cards. West Bengal government describes the scheme as a collateral-free loan scheme, but on the contrary under the existing norms, a bank can demand collateral security if the loan amount is Rs 4 lakhs or above.
Lack of Livelihood Opportunity- Migrant Bengal Workers:
A recent report has pegged workers’ outstanding dues at Rs 2,744 crore for work done, since December 26, 2021. The impasse caused a drop in the number of households who purely relied on the livelihood supporting scheme – from 77 lakhs during the Covid years to 16 lakhs this fiscal year. Resultant factor – “much more than usual migration” – proving to be a significant concern for the party as the next rural polls are due in a matter of months
The AITC Chairperson today during her Meghalaya election campaign stated that her party can give better governance and help achieve the dreams of the youth, the students, and the women in Meghalaya. She claimed that similar to her government’s “Lakshmir Bhandar Scheme” for the women of West Bengal , AITC in Meghalaya will provide Rs 1,000 to women in every family once they are voted to power:
It is to be noted that Lakshmi Bhandar scheme has budget allocation of 13,000 Crore annually and significantly Bengal government is paying between Rs 80,000 – Rs 90,000 cr as debt repayment and interest to its borrowers every year. Effectively, every citizen of Bengal has to pay astoundingly Rs.8,000 cr as debt every year. Many TMC MLAs have expressed their dissatisfaction that their developmental work in their constituencies have taken a back seat due to paucity of funds.
During her last visit to the state in December, AITC Chairperson Mamata Banerjee had launched the WE Card Scheme and MYE scheme promising financial assistance to the women and youth of Meghalaya. The registration process is much flawed, with I-PAC led agents running across the state to register people, while though automated bots registration is spiked. These schemes would cost Rs.2,000 Crore to exchequers, about 50% of State’s expenditure, leading to severe crunch in development work, food grain distribution and salary payment of government officers. A senior official from the Finance Department with the condition of anonymity said that such dole distribution would lead to “never seen cash crunch.” The only option for the Government would be to stop pensions and salary payments.
Post Mamata Banerjee’s visit in December, there have been changes in the political ecosystem with several political ecosystem with several Workers left TMC showing discontent on I-PACs way of working. I-PAC seems to be the driving lead which catapults the failure of Mukul Sangma, as he’s seemingly given up the leadership to Abhishek Banerjee, General Secretary, AITC .
Further she added- What has this government done in the past five years? We challenge them to show their report card on what they did in the past five years. Why is it that after so many years, electricity hasn’t reached Meghalaya? Why is the younger generation not getting any employment opportunities:
It seems TMC supremo was not briefed that a week back NPP has already published a detailed report card. It is quite obvious that she is not aware of the real issues that the State faces and wants to bring WB schemes and practices to Meghalaya.
Abhishek Banerjee on this occasion said : “Looking at the love, appreciation, and enthusiasm of the people, I can say that NPP will not be able to win a single assembly seat from Garo.” He also said “this meeting will be the death knell for the corrupt NPP-MDA government.” AITC National General Secretary, Abhishek Banerjee asserted that if voted to power, the people of the soil would run the government in Meghalaya, unlike those leaders who run governments from the ivory towers of Guwahati and Delhi. He also appealed to people to ensure that as the Sun rises in the East, the future of India should also rise from the North-Eastern region.
It must be noted that this is his 2nd visit to Garo hills, and he has spent less than a couple of days. Such bold statement seems to be directed towards motivating TMC workers only. It would be apt to mention that his MBA degree has been challenged by multiple political opposition leaders, which seems to be from a non-recognized, scam ridden institute. He has been allegedly involved in a multi-crore coal scam along with his wife and sister-in-law.
Mamata Banerjee also stated- “Why should a de-facto prime minister from Guwahati run all the North-Eastern region? People must commit that this time, no matter what proposals come from MDA and BJP, they will not bow their heads to anyone. This time, they will restore the pride and glory for the future of the younger generation of Meghalaya, for women empowerment, for farmers, for media, and for all people irrespective of their caste, community, and creed”:
It is to be noted that as per claims from TMC, people of Meghalaya would lead the State which apparently boils down to Dr. Mukul Sangma and team. But these are the same set of people who had been there on the driving seat for more than 8 years before MDA government took over. A transformative change through I-PAC can only be theoretical but not implementable.
Leader of Opposition Dr. Mukul Sangma had a chance to speak on the Assam-Meghalaya border issue that he had raised. In his brief speech, Dr. Mukul Sangma played TMC Bengal’s anti-BJP agenda card but forgot that his actual opposition is NPP. His example of TMC’s win over BJP in Bengal, also resonated his party supremo’s anti Modi drive but lacked conviction on the issue that would impact Meghalaya.