Didi led an anti-CAA protest march in Hills today

Today, Mamata Banerjee led a 4-km-long protest march in Darjeeling hills against the new citizenship law. The rally began at Bhanu Bhakta Bhavan near Mall in Darjeeling and concluded in the Chowkbazar area.. For the last few weeks, Didi has been leading protests across the State against this unconstitutional law.

Several protest marches have been held in Kolkata, led by Mamata Banerjee. Trinamool Chhatra Parishad and Trinamool Mahila Congress have held sit-in demonstrations as well. 

Bangla is the only State to boycott the meeting on NPR called by the Union Government. At the inauguration of the Uttarbanga Utsav too she had said that there will be no NPR and CAA in Bangla. She assured the people that she would guard them 365 days a year.


State Assembly to pass resolution against CAA on Jan 27

The Bangla Government is going to bring a resolution against the amended Citizenship Act (CAA). The resolution will be taken up for discussion and passing during a special session of the State Assembly on January 27.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday had announced that her government would pass a resolution against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) soon.

Minister for Parliamentary Affairs, Partha Chatterjee today said, “There will be a special session of the State Assembly on January 27 at 2 PM to discuss and a resolution against CAA.” He also called on other political parties to support the resolution.

It may be mentioned that on September 6, a resolution was adopted in the State Assembly against the NRC process in Assam. Since CAA was not passed in parliament at that time, CAA was not mentioned in that proposal.

Partha Chatterjee said that it is important to pass this resolution in the interest of democracy.

Bangla Govt aims to promote muslin products on a global scale

The Bangla Government is contemplating global promotion of muslin and other handicraft products.

While saying this recently, the State Finance and MSME Minister Dr Amit Mitra mentioned that the visits made by approximately 1.2 lakh international tourists to various handicraft hubs across 15 districts had given a tremendous boost to the village economy.

The Biswa Bangla outlet set up at the Kolkata airport has also been attracting a lot of buyers; foreigners who are buying the products at this outlet may feel the need of having such items in their countries and thereby contributing to the export automatically. We have specific plans to increase the export of muslin through various phases, elaborated the Minister.

Muslin products sold via Biswa Bangla store outlets are hugely popular and in great demand. Bangla had been one of the largest exporters of muslin sarees during the pre-colonial era.

The Government had signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the UNESCO in 2013 for the enhancement of soft skills of artisans, through which they have immensely benefited. It has helped the artisans not only raise their incomes but also uplift their social status.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has taken a special interest in bringing back the golden days for weavers. There are more than 300 families that are associated with the production of muslin sarees. The programme began with 3,000 artisans. Today, around 25,000 artisans are involved with the programme. Their income has increased from Rs 500 a month to Rs 7,500 while a few of them are even earning up to Rs 12,000 a month.

Bangla Government honouring the legacy of Mahatma Gandhi

January 30 is the death anniversary of the ‘Father of the Nation’, Mahatma Gandhi. His connection with Bangla had always been spiritual. The Bangla Government observes Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary on October 2 and his death anniversary on January 30, with due honour every year.

When India gained independence in 1947, Mahatma Gandhi had been residing in Gandhi Bhavan in Beliaghata, Kolkata. At present, Gandhi Bhavan also comprises a museum which showcases the charkha (spinning wheel) which he used when he resided here. Rare pictures of the Mahatma can also be found hung across the museum walls.

On the occasion of his death anniversary, here are some highlights of the Bangla Government’s tributary efforts towards Mahatma Gandhi:

  • This year’s Republic Day tableau depicted the time Gandhi ii spent in Bangla along with the great poet Rabindranath Tagore. The tableau depicted a picture of ‘Shyamoli’, the house where he lived in Santiniketan, and other imagery related to this phase of his life. The whole concept was conceived by Mamata Banerjee.
  • Mahatma Gandhi spent a considerable amount of time in this house in Beliaghata. The chief minister had launched the restoration work of the Gandhi Bhavan and the museum, worth Rs 3.5 crore, on the occasion of his birth anniversary on October 2, 2018.
  • The Bangla Government has set up a committee to celebrate the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. The chief minister is the chairperson of this 46-member committee, the first meeting of which was held on April 23, 2018.
  • Mamata Banerjee has also laid the foundation stone of a university named after Mahatma Gandhi in Tamluk in Purba Medinipur district.
  • Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary is observed as Sampriti Dibas across Bengal.
  • The State Government has introduced a scholarship scheme called ‘Medhabi Bhata’ and also designated a chair under his name in Calcutta University.
  • Apart from these, mention must also be made of a book due to be published by the Bangla Government containing all of Gandhi ji’s speeches, which will be released under the name, Father of the Nation.

File Photo

Bengal leading in cooperative movement

Bengal is a leader when it came to cooperative movement in the country, said the State Finance Minister, Dr Amit Mitra at the joint inauguration of the Samabay Mela and the centenary celebrations of the State cooperative banks on November 19.

He said Nadia district has excelled in this field and has won recognition from the Union Government. He also highlighted the stellar growth achieved under the Trinamool Congress Government in terms of disbursals to cooperatives and self-help groups (SHG).

Dr Mitra said the credit deposit ratio of the West Bengal State Cooperative Agriculture & Rural Development Bank was 81.16 per cent, which was extremely good.

Cooperative banks play a crucial role in agriculture and rural development. The banks extended a total crop loan of Rs 3,300 crore, a massive rise from the Rs 1,388 crore extended during financial year 2010-11. In the same period, loans to SHGs have increased from Rs 129 crore to Rs 612 crore and paddy procurement has jumped from 1.97 lakh metric tonnes (MT) to 5.08 lakh MT.

The Cooperation Department Minister said the government has taken initiatives to expand cooperative banks to 710 more gram panchayats. Fifty of these were inaugurated on that day.

Source: Millennium Post

Mamata Banerjee – The face of the land movement in Bangla

Mamata Banerjee has been the face of the land movement in Bangla. It was she who fearlessly fought against the tyranny of the Left Front Government during the Singur and Nandigram movements.

In 2006, the Left-led Government acquired 997 acres of multi-crop land for a car factory in Singur. The forcible acquisition, which was made under the colonial Land Acquisition Act of 1894, led to protests all over Bangla, led by Mamata Banerjee. She even went on a hunger strike for 26 days for the sake of farmers’ rights.

In 2011, Mamata Banerjee became the Chief Minister of Bangla after the people voted in large numbers for a change of guard in the State. Since then, the Government has taken up numerous initiatives for land reforms.

Here are some of the most important achievements:

Singur verdict

In compliance with the landmark verdict of the Hon. Supreme Court of India, land amounting to almost 980 acres, situated within the erstwhile Singur Project Area, has been returned to almost 12,000 families dispossessed by the project, after making the land suitable for cultivation.

New Land Bill

Following the footsteps of Bangla, the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Bill, 2015 was introduced in the Lok Sabha on February 24, 2015. The Bill replaced the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement (Amendment) Ordinance, 2014.

Land Policy

From 2011 to 2018, many important policy decisions have been taken for achieving better administration, regulation and management of land:

In a bold policy initiative, the State Government has decided to waive tax on agricultural land. This will go a long way in not only mitigating hardships faced by farmers but also boosting agricultural output and income.

The Land Allotment Policy was formulated in financial year (FY) 2012-13 in order to introduce uniformity, reduce discretion and ensure transparency while dealing with public assets. The policy laid down a transparent process for allotments of land along with the terms for such allotments.

The Land Purchase Policy was introduced in FY 2014-15 to enable the State Government and its parastatal agencies to purchase land for infrastructure projects through a process of direct negotiation with willing landowners against just compensation and incentives. The scope of this policy was extended to land purchase for Central Government departments as well in FY 2016-17. The stated policy of the State Government is that there will be no forceful acquisition of land. The purchase policy of the Government is thus consent-based and transparent. So far, the Standing Committee on Industry, Infrastructure and Employment has cleared direct purchase of about 950 acres for various projects of public importance.

The State Land Use Board has developed a Land Bank of available land in all the districts of Bangla with a view to ensuring availability of land for infrastructural development for industries and other developmental work, including ­flagship projects of the State.

Amendments to Section 14Y of the West Bengal Land Reforms Act, 1955 were carried out in 2014 to broaden the scope of the section. Now entrepreneurs may, with prior permission of the Government, utilise ceiling-surplus land to set up units for various industrial and social infrastructural activities in sectors like information technology, shipbuilding, township, transportation terminal and logistics hub, in addition to existing sectors.

Land Use Map

Utilising the concept of index-linked land use, zoning maps were introduced in FY 2011-12 for the use of investors. Land Use Maps broadly contain parameters like dry/ barren land, single-crop land, double/ multi-crop land, forest land, metalled roads, national /state highways, railway network, waterbodies, etc.

Nijo Griha Nijo Bhumi

NGNB (launched in 2011) provides up to 5 decimal land to eligible beneficiary families (all rural landless and homeless agricultural labourers/ artisans/ fishermen). Almost 2.2 lakh NGNB pattas have been distributed under this scheme so far.

From 2011 to 2017, a total of more than 3 lakh pattas (including NGNB, agricultural and forest pattas) were distributed.

Bangla CM to hand over land pattas in Hills

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee will be handing over land rights documents (pattas) to more than 400 families residing in the forest villages of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts on September 5, during her visit to the Hills.

She will be handing over the land rights documents to about 300 families of Darjeeling district and more than 100 families from Kalimpong district.

A review meeting between the state government and Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) officials was held recently in Darjeeling to work out the modalities.

In Darjeeling district, 1,509 claims were received from the Scheduled Tribe communities residing in the forest villages, along with 1,232 claims from Other Traditional Forest Dwellers.

In Kalimpong district, there were 3,376 claims from the ST community and 4,626 from other communities.

There are 59 forest villages in Darjeeling-Pulbazar block, 31 in Jorebungalow-Sukhia block, 11 in Rungli Rungliot block, 21 in Kurseong block, four in Mirik block, 21 in Kalimpong-1 block, 18 in Kalimpong-2 block and 18 in the Gorubathan block.

Source: Millennium Post

Improvements in paddy procurement in seven years

The State Government has brought about a lot of improvement in the procurement of paddy and in the quality control mechanism of the foodgrains bought from farmers. Storage capacity infrastructure has also undergone a sea change.

A significant step has been the institution of NEFT mechanism for directly paying farmers through account transfer against the paddy bought from them. This process has made payment easier and quicker, and for this reason, was recently taken up as a model by the Centre for implementation across all States.

The Food & Supplies Department has notched up quite a few successes in the procurement of paddy and custom milled rice (CMR) during the last seven years.

They are as follows:

Krishak Bazars also as paddy procurement centres: From kharif marketing season (KMS) 2014-15, the purchasing of paddy through Krishak Bazars has become prevalent.

Procurement centres increased: In KMS 2014-15, 46 Krishak Bazars having the required infrastructural facilities were identified as centralised procurement centres (CPC). Over just four seasons, that number was increased to 325 (in KMS 2017-18). At the same time, cooperative societies continue to function as paddy procurement centres for CMR agencies; 950 cooperative societies functioned as such for KMS 2017-18.

Farmers incentivised: In order to incentivise farmers for bringing in their paddy to CPCs, in KMS 2014-15, Rs 15 per quintal of paddy was allowed over and above the MSP of Rs 1,360 per quintal. In KMS 2017-18, it was enhanced to Rs 20 per quintal.

Electronic means introduced for procurement and payment: From KMS 2016-17, it was made mandatory to employ e-procurement software capable of recording all relevant information of the farmers as well as recording the details of transactions and payments.

From KMS 2016-17, the system of payment of the price of paddy directly to the farmers’ bank accounts through NEFT was introduced, and was made mandatory from KMS 2017-18. Significantly, electronic payment through NEFT has been recently taken up as a model by the Centre.

Participation of women’s self-help groups: Participation of women’s self-help groups (SHG) and sanghas in paddy procurement is being encouraged. Till March 2018, 300 SHGs have participated in KMS 2017-18 and have procured 31,217 metric tonnes (MT) of paddy from 9,600 small and marginal farmers.

Distress sale eliminated: As a result of the Food & Supplies Department’s procurement initiatives, no distress sale of paddy has been reported in KMS 2017-18. The market rate of paddy has increased and thus it is above MSP across the entire State.

Enhancement of storage capacity

The Food & Supplies Department has created an additional 7.85 lakh metric tonnes (MT) of storage capacity during the period of 2011 to 2018. As a result, the storage capacity has increased from just 63,000 MT in FY 2010-11 to 8.48 lakh MT in May 2017.

Moreover, the department has taken up an ambitious project for the creation of another 3 lakh MT of storage space within the next two years at a cost of Rs 500 crore. With this project, the department will achieve self-sufficiency in the storage of rice.

Quality control mechanism

In order to keep a check on the quality of the foodgrains bought from farmers and of those available in markets, the Food & Supplies Department has taken several initiatives for upgrading laboratories and constructing new ones, through the Directorate of Inspection and Quality Control (I&QC).

Quality control (QC) laboratories in Kolkata (headquarters), Krishnanagar and Bardhaman have been upgraded and modernised. Specialised laboratory furniture and modern benchtop digital refractometers have been set up in the laboratories in Kolkata and Bardhaman.

Seventy-five mini QC laboratories have been set up in government warehouses and 120 in private warehouses.

A target has been set for the construction of four more zonal QC laboratories in Siliguri, Malda, Suri and Medinipur and 15 more laboratories in the offices of district controllers of food and supplies (DCF&S).

In the agriculture sector, Bangla has been one of the best-performing States, acknowledged by the Central Government several times and awarded the Krishi Karman Award for five consecutive years. The government has ensured that not just in production but in procurement and quality control too, processes are streamlined and modern methods adopted.

Message of communal harmony at I-Day celebrations at Red Road

Bangla Government celebrated Independence Day with full honours today. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hoisted the National Flag at Red Road. Parades and cultural functions were held at the venue. The CM was given Guard of Honour.

Bangla Government conveyed the message of communal harmony at this year’s Independence Day parade on Red Road. A tableau based on the theme of ‘Oikotan’ (Harmony) was a part of the parade. Bauls and folk artistes participated in these tableaux which projected the ‘unity in diversity’ in Bangla.

Besides the tableau based on ‘Oikotan’, there were tableauxs on the popular schemes and projects of the State Government, like Kanyashree, Sabuj Sathi, Ruposhree, Sabuj Shree, Khadya Sathi and Safe Drive Save Life.

Industrial production in Bengal has increased by 250%

The rate of industrial production in Bengal has increased by 250 per cent over the last seven years, which is the period of the Trinamool Congress Government.

This fact came to the fore through a recent report, ‘Progress of the State’ (‘Rajyer Agragati’) published by the State Government. While it was 2.2 per cent in the 2011-12 fiscal, it has steadily increased to stand at 7.9 per cent in the 2017-18 fiscal.

Among other data presented in the report is the increase in yearly exports by value, from 711 crore US dollars to 825 crore US dollars, which is an increase of 16 per cent. A roadmap has already been prepared for doubling exports within the next three years.

A lot of stress is being given on promoting export-oriented activities, especially by micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME). Suitable infrastructure is being built up.

According to the report, for exports, stress is being given on steel, gold, high-value metals, readymade garments and vegetables.

For the development of industrial infrastructure in Bengal, investment made in 2017 was Rs 989 crore, which was only Rs 243 crore in 2011. The State Government had made investments worth Rs 3,602.53 crore over the last seven years.

Investments for development of industrial infrastructure have also come about through the highly successful Bengal Global Business Summits. From 2015 to 2018, over the course of four summits, investment proposals worth Rs 9,48,568.77 crore have come about.