‘Bengal, not Gujarat, is growth model’ | Kolkata News


Kolkata: Mamata Banerjee, into her third tenure as chief minister, on Wednesday showcased the Bengal model of development and urged states to replicate it, in contrast to four-time Gujarat CM Narendra Modi using Kutch’s robust industrial growth as a showpiece for the country’s development before becoming Prime Minister in 2014.
The West Bengal CM, during her address to Trinamool Congress supporters and opposition leaders who had assembled at Constitution Club in Delhi to listen to her speech, countered the Modi government’s top-down growth approach with her alternative of “cash benefit transfers” at grassroots, claiming how it worked during the Covid pandemic.
“Bengal is the model and not Gujarat. We all have seen what happened to Gujarat,” Banerjee said.
She had elaborated on the Bengal approach during state Budget discussions. “Our approach is to boost demand at grassroots that can take care of supply line,” Banerjee had said. The Centre, she argued, was giving concessions to big business to energize supply, which didn’t happen as estimated.
The CM touched upon elements of inclusive growth route that takes the underprivileged on board while crafting the development plan. “Instead of helping the poor and the jobless, they are spending public money on spyware,” she said and added that Bengal was the only state that gave rations free to all.
“We are giving free rations to people of our state. No state in this country does so. Our Swasthya Sathi scheme gives health cover to a much bigger population than Ayushman Bharat. Treatment is free in state government hospitals,” Banerjee said. Her party reaped rich dividends in the recently-concluded assembly polls, thwarting a no-holds-barred attack by PM Modi and his council of ministers.
She showcased several state schemes for girl children and women, from Kanyashree to Lakshmir Bhandar, and Rs 10 lakh credit-card loans to students and Rs 10,000 support for each farmer irrespective of their holdings, to take care of the disadvantaged.
“Responsive governance, unity, harmony, development, prosperity — instead of division in the name of religion and caste, surveillance on people — are the basic elements of our development route,” the CM said.
While her political opponents discounted the approach as “dole politics”, Banerjee argued how this approach had helped reduce poverty in Bengal. “People living below poverty line have gone down below 40%,” she said.
The CM also seized the opportunity to point out that the Bengal government didn’t lose out on revenue because of its “pro-people” policies. Addressing former Union finance minister P Chidambaram, who was listening to her speech, Banerjee said: “Mr Chidambaram knows very well about the debt we inherited when we came to power. Our own generation in 2011 was Rs 21,000 crore. It has gone up to over Rs 75,000 crore now, despite the burden of debt servicing.”


Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button