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Mamata announces Rs 1,500 monthly dole to jobless youth

The West Bengal government on Thursday launched a scheme under which a monthly dole of Rs 1,500 will be provided to the unemployed youth in the state.

Inaugurating the ‘Yuvashree’ scheme, chief minister Mamata Banerjee said one lakh youth enrolled in employment exchanges would receive the amount every month in the first phase, while maintaining that it was not an unemployment allowance but ‘assistance’ for them to meet their expenses.

‘There are about one crore unemployed persons in West Bengal which has a total population of eight crore. I had no idea that the state has such huge number of unemployed,’ she said at the Netaji Indoor Stadium.

‘Some are questioning why unemployed allowance is being given. It is not an unemployed allowance. It is some assistance to them to meet expenses,’ she said.

‘Many are not happy at the announcement of these welfare schemes and pulling a long face on how the funds will be sourced,’ she said.

She pointed out that the salaries of the state government employees were being paid as also teachers on the first day of each month.

Finance minister Amit Mitra had announced the Yuva Utsaha Prokolpo (Youth Encouragement Scheme) while tabling the 2013-14 budget. He had said one lakh unemployed people aged between 18 and 45 years would get the assistance.

Banerjee said it was government’s social commitment to provide help to people as she responded to concern raised by critics over the drain on the exchequer of the debt-strapped state due to the slew of sops announced including her flagship project for girl students launched on 1 October.

‘We will definitely have to help people as it is our social commitment,’ Banerjee said.

Stating that some were demanding that the state government instead should give more DA to employees, the chief minister said, ‘I have no objection to giving DA, but from where will the money come?’

‘All our resources are going in meeting the payment of interest to the Centre for the huge loans taken by the previous government,’ the chief minister added.

Banerjee said that her government had provided three lakh government jobs in two and half years.

‘There was creation of four to five lakh jobs in the small-scale industry and a few lakhs in the private sector too. We will create one crore jobs in the small-scale industry,’ she said.

Stating that many organisations were coming to the state for investment, she said ‘I am hearing that Damodar Valley Corporation is investing about Rs 1050 crore in West Bengal. SAIL is making an investment of Rs 20,000 crore.’
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