Hon’ble Finance Minister Dr. Amit Mitra,
I heard your press conference the other day, which presumably was with the inspiration (অনুপ্রেরণা) of the Chief Minister Smt Mamata Banerjee.
You started by questioning Union Finance Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman ji’s locus-standi, as an unelected person to raise questions on a 7 times elected Smt Mamata Banerjee. Dada, your ignorance is not surprising. For your information India follows a bicameral parliamentary system, in which Members of Parliament are elected to the lower house, Lok Sabha, by the people and to the upper house, Rajya Sabha, by the elected representatives in the Vidhan Sabha. I am sure you also voted in such elections, but you may not have been able to comprehend what you voted for.
Before I take it up point by point, I would like to draw your attention to your role as the head of the Cabinet Committee on Covid Affairs. A fund of Rs 1.5 lakh crores was announced by Mananiya Chief Minister. Since nothing of this huge fund has been seen or felt on the ground, while Covid infection in the state is rapidly rising, my question is- were these funds released and if so, did they end up with the ‘usual beneficiaries’ and not the needy?
Yesterday we spent better part of the day, unsuccessfully looking for a hospital bed for a known Covid positive person. Despite your Government’s bulletin reporting only 23.25% of the 10,594 beds utilised, i.e. 8,131 bed available, we could not find a single bed. You expect anyone to believe this daily report!
Dada, let me draw your attention to your theory in 2013, based on Keynesian multiplier effect, that had the State Government not returned Rs 22,000 crores to Centre it would have created a GDP of Rs 88,000 crores. Not getting into the which Keynesian theory you referred to, but with the multiplier of 4 time West Bengal GDP would have been much higher if the monetary splurge had not taken place without creating any assets, only for the benefit of your party leaders.
You, also have the distinction of doubling the debt burden at Rs 3.9 lakh crores in just 8 years, what the mighty team of Ashim Dasgupta and Ashok Mitra took 34 years to achieve. As a result, now in West Bengal, every child is born with a Rs 45,000 debt.
Dada, is it not a fact that your colleague Shri Partha Chatterjee the then Commerce & Industry Minister had confronted you when you disagreed with his figures of investment in the State causing much embarrassment. Hats-off to the CM whose solution ensured such would never ever happen. You became the Minister for both Finance and Commerce & Industry. You then excelled in your role by announcing annually after the so-called business summit investments of Rs 2.4 lakh crores. In 6 years this totaled Rs 15 lac crs. The reality is- written proposals received was 3.5% and actual investment made a mere 1% i.e. around Rs 2,500 crores per year.
In the press conference you spoke about the unemployment rate of 17% in West Bengal. My simple question is- does this include the migrant workers who have returned or you do not consider them as people of West Bengal? After all, your great leader calls the train that ferried them ‘Corona Express’ and quarantines them in Sulabh Sauchalay (public toilets). Is it not a fact that West Bengal did not let Shramik Express trains and Vande Bharat flights enter for many weeks?
Another blatant un-truth of yours, “40 trains got lost and went to the wrong destination”. In case you do not know or choose not to know, these were diverted on a longer route by the Railways due to technical reasons and all trains reached their original destinations.
You said the loss of the state due to Amphan cyclone was Rs 1 lakh crores, but the PM only announced Rs 1,000 crores. Shall I call it a deliberate un-truth? You very well know that the Hon’ble PM Modi ji immediately after the aerial survey and meeting with the CM announced as an interim measure Rs 1,000 crs which was remitted within 24 hours. It is pertinent to mention that the Chief Minister had quantified the loss at Rs 1 lakh crores within few hours of the cyclone and miraculously the Government’s detailed calculation also came to the same number. Will you also give some idea how this Rs 1,000 crores was spent, as we did not see evidence of relief reaching for weeks.
Dada, awaiting your response.
(Note: Shishir Bajoria is a BJP leader from West Bengal and is a Core Committee Member of the Dept. Of Foreign Affairs, BJP.)