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Centre on anti-federal mode, no funds sent to state for MNREGA: TMC MP

KOLKATA: Blaming the Centre for carrying out anti-federal moves, Trinamool Congress (TMC) leader and MP Derek O'Brien claimed on social media that the former had decided to bring down the number of person days to half without providing any funds to the state government.

"Politics even during #Covid. Sigh. Bengal has consistently been #1 in 100 Days Work #MNREGA. Record number of 41 crore person-days created in 2020. But Centre still in anti-federal mode. Number of person-days halved this year, ZERO funds received by Bengal from GOI," the TMC MP tweeted on Friday.

According to O'Brien, the Centre's decision to continue the anti-federal move resulted in more burden on the state government, but the latter continued to carry on with the schemes. "In every sphere, be it vaccine allocation for COVID-19 pandemic to increasing the man-days for MNREGA, Center's anti–federal stance became prominent. Our Chief Minister has sent several letters regarding the co-ordination of the Centre for controlling COVID-19, but they are yet to reply in this regard," the TMC leader said. Before the Covid crisis, the BJP government at the Centre was attempting to weaken and dismantle MNREGA, the TMC leader claimed. In 2015, the Prime Minister even claimed it to be a "living monument of failure." Further, in the 2019-20 and 2020-21 budgets, MGNREGA allocations were reduced in comparison to actual expenditure in the previous year.

According to the TMC leader, not clearing the wage bills of the state governments along with mechanising the work of manual labour, the Central government has done everything to undermine the programme.

"Not only in MNREGA, but we have seen how the Centre misled people on the Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme," he said.

"While state government has not received any invitation from Centre for the PM Kisan fund release program on Friday, seven lakh farmers of West Bengal have got their due entitlement, ie, the first installment of Kisan Samman Nidhi by direct transfer as per data submitted by state government following the demand and actions of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee," he added.

In the three consecutive years between 2011-2019, the state government has won awards from the Centre for implementation of the MNREGA program. The annual expenditure on MNREGA has gone up 200 per cent.

The annual generation of person-days has increased from 150 million to 330 million.

In April 2020, Bengal featured in the top three states in terms of person-days of work.

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