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Centre's claim of not receiving FTO from Bengal is baseless: State govt

Centres claim of not receiving FTO from Bengal is baseless: State govt
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Kolkata: The Bengal government has slammed the Centre on Thursday stating its claim of not receiving "Fund Transfer Order (FTO)" to release pending Rs 397.57 crore of MGNREGS to be "incorrect".

The Centre directly transfers the benefit to the bank or post office account of the beneficiaries through NEFT after receiving the FTO from the state government through Public Fund Management System (PFMS).

Recently, the Centre has come up with a fact stating that Bengal is one of the nine states not to give the FTO. This comes when the Centre is yet to clear Rs 781.1 crore to these nine states including Rs 397.57 crore of Bengal.

Subrata Mukherjee, the state Panchayat and Rural Development minister, said: "It is completely an incorrect fact that has been put forward. All formalities from the state's end have been completed and it is up to date. The FTO has also been given to the Centre. The actual reason behind not releasing the same could be something else."

The inordinate delay in releasing the fund by "putting forward the baseless claim" of "not receiving FTO" is leaving an adverse effect on the rural mass at this critical time of Covid when Bengal has created a record 18.64 crore

mandays in five months since April.

The state government implements the demand driven wage employment programme at the grassroot level and it has no major role to play in terms of payment of wage apart from giving the FTO as it completely takes place through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT). In reply to a question, Union Rural Development

Minister Narendra Singh Tomar told Lok Sabha that wage payment of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) is made on a regular basis besides explaining the process of DBT after receiving the FTO from the state government.

The inordinate delay in releasing the fund by the Centre comes when it owes a total of around Rs 60,000 crores to the state including more than Rs 4,000 crore GST compensation.

In terms of GST compensation issue, the state Finance minister Amit Mitra also hit out at the Centre stating that it would be a historic blunder if the Centre forced the states to accept the two options with a majority vote at the next GST Council meeting.

He also raised allegations of political muscle flexing to make the states agree to the options of borrowing to meet the revenue shortfall.

"...what happened in the five hours of discussion in the GST Council, no options were discussed. All of a sudden at the end of the meeting, two options were placed and the meeting ends. In other words, you are forcing the states into two options rather than three or four options. We felt there was a third option but nobody was there to listen," Mitra had said earlier.

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