Looking back at May 20, 2011

Shortly before 1 PM, Mamata Banerjee entered the Raj Bhavan. Earlier in the morning, she had visited the Kalighat temple and took blessings of her mother, now late Gayatri Devi. Alighting at the north gate of the Raj Bhavan, she walked in, amidst cheers and slogans from the people waiting outside in thousands.

At 1.05 PM, Mamata Banerjee took oath as the first woman Chief Minister of West Bengal. History was created.

Mamata Banerjee takes oath as Bengal CM

Mamata Banerjee and her cabinet took oath in the presence of some 3,000 people that included her party workers and relatives of the victims of violence in Nandigram and Singur. This has perhaps been one of the most crowded swearing-in ceremonies of a chief minister. Along with her, 35 MLAs from Trinamool Congress took oath as ministers of the two-tier ministry. Four of the Trinamool Congress MLAs were sworn in as Ministers of State.

Mamata Banerjee takes oath


Clad in a simple white sari and wearing a tricolor uttariya (long scarf) that has by now become her trade mark, Mamata Banerjee took the oath in Bengali in the name of God, which was administered by Governor M.K. Narayanan.

Some hours earlier, Ms Banerjee had set off from her humble Harish Chatterjee Street house on a journey to change Bengal`s course. Thousands of supporters had already lined the route she would take to Raj Bhavan, holding puja thalis and blowing conch shells. Many were barefoot, as if had come to worship a deity.

In Ms Banerjee’s para, the atmosphere was Puja-like. When she emerged from the door, wearing a crisp off-white saree with a blue zari border, a chant of “Didi…Didi” went up. Her car was ready to take her to Raj Bhavan, but the Iron Lady of Bengal walked into the crowd, much to the dismay of her bodyguards from the Special Security Unit. She touched as many hands as she could, smiled, and folded her hands in humility. Someone passed her a microphone.

At exactly 12.55 PM, the Chief Minister-in-waiting walked into Raj Bhavan. She greeted Governor M K Narayanan and took the sheet of paper she was to read from.


The historic march from Raj Bhavan to Writers’

Trailed by a sea of supporters, Mamata Banerjee walked the 1 km from Raj Bhavan, where she took oath as the first non-Left Chief Minister in 34 years, to Writers’ Building on Friday, May 20, 2011. Euphoric, swelling crowds — nearly 2.5 lakh — thronged the kilometre-long road to Writers’ Buildings. “Democracy has to be with the people,” she said. “I saw the crowds and asked the governor’s permission to walk to Writers’ Buildings.”


writers wave

Her first day at Writers’ Building


Bureaucrats and security officers escorted Mamata Banerjee up the same flight of stairs along which she had been dragged down in 1993. In the corridor, she suddenly cut her brisk stride and turned towards a balcony. She stood there for a while and waved to the delirious crowd. A bodyguard swiftly crouched before her, hanging on to the low guard rails to protect her from the mad scramble of photojournalists. With a final wave, Ms Banerjee walked off purposefully to the CM`s chamber. It was 4.44pm.

It was from there that Ms Banerjee had been hauled out 17 years ago. Then a firebrand Congress worker, she had been agitating outside former CM Jyoti Basu’s office, insisting he meet a woman who had been allegedly raped by CPM workers. As the police yanked her out, Banerjee swore to set foot in Writers’ Buildings only after the Left was ousted. On the afternoon of 20 May, she kept her vow.

The first Cabinet Meeting

On her first days as chief minister, the people’s leader broke all protocol. She refused a bullet-proof car, declined the privilege of free passage, instructed police to halt her black car at traffic signals, worked in office until 12.35 AM the day she was sworn in.


didi greet

People greet Mamata Banerjee on 20 May, 2011


After the swearing-in, Mamata Banerjee chaired her first Cabinet meeting at around 5 PM: Singur topped the agenda, then came her first press conference as CM around 8 PM. Then she sat in her office, allotting ministries to her Cabinet colleagues. The CM left office at 12:35 AM on Saturday.

WB Govt plans to organise a global education summit

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee has shown a lot of interest in organising a global education summit in the State. The State Education Minister, Partha Chatterjee, announced last Friday that the Government is going ahead with this.

Educationists from all over the world would congregate to discuss the current state of education. The primary aim of the State Government behind organising this summit is to improve the quality of education and the educational infrastructure in West Bengal.

Importantly, the Education Minister said that researchers and educationists who have left the State in search of better opportunities would be invited too. According to him, this summit would give a clearer picture of where West Bengal stands in terms of the state of education and hence, give pointers to the areas in which improvements need to be made.

The West Bengal Education Commission has already been created to provide a basis for the future of education in the State.


আন্তর্জাতিক শিক্ষা সম্মেলন করতে ইচ্ছুক রাজ্য সরকার

শিল্পের পর এবার শিক্ষা সম্মেলন করার পথে রাজ্য সরকার। শিক্ষামন্ত্রী পার্থ চ্যাটার্জি গত শুক্রবার জানিয়েছেন যে রাজ্যে শিক্ষা সম্মেলন করা হবে।

দেশ–বিদেশের শিক্ষাবিদদের নিয়ে আলোচনা হবে এই সম্মেলনে। পশ্চিমবঙ্গের শিক্ষাব্যবস্থার মান ও পরিকাঠামো উন্নয়নে এই শিক্ষা সম্মেলন উল্লেখযোগ্য ভূমিকা নেবে।

শিক্ষামন্ত্রী জানান যে এই সম্মেলনে দেশ এবং বিদেশের বিভিন্ন বিশ্ববিদ্যালয়ের উপাচার্য এবং শিক্ষাবিদদের আমন্ত্রণ জানানো হবে। এই সম্মেলনে রাজ্যের শিক্ষাব্যবস্থার সম্পূর্ণ চিত্রটি যেমন তুলে ধরা হবে, তেমনি অন্য রাজ্য বা দেশের তুলনায় কোন কোন ক্ষেত্রে আমরা পিছিয়ে রয়েছি, কোথায় খামতি আছে, কেন ঘাটতি তাও জানা যাবে। শিক্ষার কোনও একটি স্তর বা ক্ষেত্রকে আরও উন্নত করতে শিক্ষাবিদদের সঙ্গে মত বিনিময়েরও সুযোগ তৈরি হবে।

আগামী দিনে রাজ্যের শিক্ষাব্যবস্থার রূপ কী হবে, তা ঠিক করতে ইতিমধ্যেই শিক্ষা কমিশন গঠিত হয়েছে।


All you need to know about the new Startup Policy of Bengal

To provide an enabling ecosystem to support and nurture startups in the state, the West Bengal Government launched the state startup policy at the Bengal Global Business Summit.

Broad pointers

The policy, a document with eight broad pointers comes complete with a preamble, a vision, the state’s mission, the enabling environment for startups in the state, definitions related to various aspects of a startup alongside defining incentives and procedures to be followed by the startups.

This policy would be in effect from January 1 2016 to December 31, 2021.

The policy has been launched ahead of the Centre so that MSMEs in the State can start the work at the earliest and use all the facilities the state is offering to encourage entrepreneurship.


The preamble of the policy takes off with the statement ‘Silpa Korun Bangla Gorun’ (set up industry to develop Bengal.

Defining the mission of the state, the policy states that the authorities would target to create enabling environment and supporting eco-system that facilitates ten thousand startups in the next ten years.

Entrepreneurship Development Centre Network

The state will create an Entrepreneurship Development Centre Network (EDCN) with universities and leading higher education institutes across all districts in the state to undertake the role of creating entrepreneurial aspiration among the youngsters.

The state will provide fund capital expenditure up to Rs 10 lakh to universities in the state to create an EDC. Presidency University is one of the first in the state to be a part of the initiative.

Alongside facilitating EDCN institutions to incentivize entrepreneurship, the state will also facilitate capacity building capacity building of EDCN institutions through active collaboration with leading technical business incubators (TBI) in the state.

The state would facilitate setting up of new incubators in government as well as private sector.

Helping businesses

Preferential lease of land from state government as per its land policy to government recognized TBIs in the state too would be facilitated.

Twenty per cent of space available will be earmarked in existing and forthcoming Industrial estate, SME Clusters and Rural Craft Hub having common facility centre for startups during their proof of concept (POC) development stage.

The policy allows startups to access government R&D labs through MSME Technology Facilitation Centre set up by the State Government in partnership with CSIR (Council of Scientific & Industrial Research).

The Directorate of MSME would act as the nodal agency to the Innovation Enabler Mechanism that would be set up by the state to address the statutory compliance issues of the initiatives.

Digital platform

A digital platform startupbengal.in will connect all the eco-system stakeholders, network of support, funding and service providers to enable seamless access for startups.

There would also be a digital application gateway to WB MSME Equity Fund. The policy also mentions that any fiscal incentive available under the state government policy will be applicable to startups too.


The image is representative

Bengal Leads

Bengal surges ahead in every field

With Ms Mamata Banerjee as the Chief Minister of West Bengal, West Bengal has made tremendous development in every field of growth if compared to the national avarages.

The recent figures make it clear that Bengal offers a golden investment opportunity. Under the leadership of the West Bengal Chief Minister, the Bengal Global Business Summit 2016, to be held on 8-9 January 2016, will bring together policy makers and business leaders from Inida and abroad to stimulate further investments, growth and development in Bengal.

  • The Gross Value-Added (GVA) growth of West Bengal stands at 10.48% whille that of India is 7.5%.
  • The increase in Per Capita Income in 2014-15 in West Bengal is 12.84% while that of India is 6.1%.
  • The increase in Industry in 2014-15 in West Bengal stands at 8.34% while that of India is 5.6%.
  • The increase in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery in 2014-15 has been 6.49% while that of India is 1.1%.


WB Govt hikes DA of govt employees by 10%

The state government on Monday issued a notification for granting additional dearness allowance (DA) to its employees, which will come into effect from 1 January 2016.

The order mentioned that state government employees with a grade pay of up to Rs 80,000 per month shall draw dearness allowance at the rate of 75 per cent with effect from 1 January 2016. It was also mentioned that there will be further adhoc increase in the existing daily rate of wages by Rs.21 for workers from 1 January 2016.

Monoj Chakraborty, from the Paschimbanga Rajya Sarkari Federation, said this was a good gesture of the government towards its employees. “The Centre should financially support Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee so that the government is able to clear more DA doses for its employees. But the state government’s role is positive,” he said.

WB Govt constitutes sixth pay commission

The state government has constituted the sixth pay commission on Friday for state government employees and certain other categories of employees.

Abhirup Sarkar, professor of Indian Statistical Institute (ISI) is the chairman of the eight-member sixth pay commission. It has been learnt that the commission will submit its report within six months.

The commission will examine the existing promotion policies and related issues and provide suggestion for suitable changes. The commission will also examine special allowance and other allowances, concessions including travelling allowance and other benefits which are available to the employees in addition to the pay and suggest change.

The commission will devise its own procedures and may appoint such advisors, institutional consultants and experts as it may consider necessary for any particular purpose in consultation with the state government.

The commission may call for such information and take such evidence as may be considered necessary. The different departments of the state government and offices sub-ordinate to them will furnish such information, documents and other assistance.

The commission will submit their recommendations as expeditiously as practicable but preferably within a period of six months from the date of order notifying the constitution of the commission.

WB Govt pulls cobblers out of daily drudgery

A thousand odd people, belonging to 150 families, living in the heart of the city for nearly 200 years have suddenly found a parent. The cobblers off S N Banerjee Road, settled here as a colony on Uma Das Lane, have been adopted by the state MSME department to become self-sufficient and come out of economic slavery.

This week, the cobblers were given a loan without any collaterals by a commercial bank, which is a first in its own right. “We are trying to develop this cobblers’ cluster of Janbazaar as a model, but what was important was revenue. On the one hand, the cobblers needed skill development and a decent working capital and on the other, we have to develop a completely mechanized modern shoe-making unit that can be utilized by all,” said state MSME secretary Rajiva Sinha.

“We realized that if the cobblers have to reach a breakthrough, just a soft loan and bettering their traditional skills will not help. They need land to build a new mechanized centre. But since the cobblers are too poor, we got the West Bengal Small Industries Development Corporation to buy a one-bigha plot at Beliaghata and give it on perpetual lease to the cobblers,” explained Sinha.

Environment-friendly immersions in Kolkata after Durga Puja

It was a beautiful sight at Hooghly – on the east bank at Baje Kadamtala Ghat. It was height of environment friendly immersion. Festivities continued on immersion day in Kolkata without polluting the river, thus obeying the norms laid down by the Calcutta High Court.

At Baje Kadamtala Ghat, a Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) floating crane was working overtime to pick-up the idols before they get fully dipped. There was a host of dedicated KMC employees, segregating -recyclable and non-recyclable materials for final disposal.

Even a score of foreign tourists, who were busy clicking the “amazing sights,” were impressed by the efforts to keep the river clean. “It is indeed magical sights and sounds. The efforts of the civic body to save the river are appreciable,” said Arnold Smith, a tourist from Amsterdam, who came to city to experience the festivity.

Immersions are conducted in Kolkata in the presence of a crane mounted on a barge on the Hooghly, two other cranes on the banks of the river, four pay loaders and a full team of Kolkata Municipal Corporation on each of the 13 most-visited ghats.

Mamata Banerjee inaugurates several Durga Puja pandals in Kolkata

West Bengal Chief Minister Ms Mamata Banerjee travelled far and wide, mapping the length and breadth of Kolkata, inaugurating Durga Puja pandals across the City of Joy.

Soaking herself in the festive spirit, she travelled from the eastern fringes to the southern corners, covering Baghbazar to Santoshpur, Kasba to New Alipore. Everywhere she went, she mingled with the crowd, greeted everyone and chanted the Durgastotram.

The Bengal Chief Minister, who is also a painter, began her inaugurations at Chetla Agrani Club on the auspicious occasion of Mahalaya.

The Chief Minister has also designed the cover of the Puja edition of the party mouthpiece Jago Bangla.

KMC and Kolkata Police gear up for Durga Puja immersions

Elaborate security arrangements by Kolkata police as well as civic authorities are in place at various ghats of the river Hooghly to ensure that the immersion of Durga idols passes off peacefully.

Officers of the Kolkata Police are manning the riverfront to prevent onlookers from getting too close to the river. Special vigil is being maintained from a watch tower near the ghat.

Cranes have been deployed at certain ghats to lift and extricate the remains of idols from the river to avoid pollution.

Additional lights have been put up at the immersion ghats and the flowers, levers and metallic weapons are being dumped in separate vats to avoid polluting the river.

Other than maintaining law and order during immersion, the teams of river police and disaster management groups patrolling the Hooghly river. Closed-circuit television cameras have been installed at certain ghats.