Three-fold increase in Bangla’s health budget in eight years

Bangla’s budgetary allotment in health has risen by almost three times over the period of the Trinamool Congress Government, from Rs 3,584 crore in 2010-11 to Rs 9,557 crore for 2019-20. This reflects the Health Department’s emphasis on improving healthcare services.

With Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee at the helm of the department, decisions and actions are taken promptly. As a result, people of Bangla are enjoying a public healthcare service like never before.

There has been a quantum jump in the strength of doctors – from 4,800 (2011) to 11,700 (2019). The strength of nurses has also seen a healthy increase – from 37,000 to 52,850.

Forty-two multi-superspeciality hospitals have been set up across the state with 6,483 paramedics and 30,000 support staff. Tenders have been floated for 27 private nursing schools to boost the number of nurses involved in health services at the various State Government hospitals.

The Swasthya Sathi family health insurance scheme has been a huge success, making healthcare highly affordable for the approximately 75 million people who are covered by it. The scheme entails coverage of Rs 5 lakh per annum.

Bangla is also nationally ahead in terms of system delivery, immunisation and in reducing infant and maternal mortality rates. The government has set up a considerable number of sick new baby units, paediatric intensive care units and trauma care units, along with increasing the number of government hospital beds.

Due to the Health and Family Welfare Department’s accomplishments, the Australian Government has shown interest over how India and Australia can partner in areas of quality remote care, alternate medicines, chronic disease management, critical support expertise, geriatric care, increasing women’s workforce participation as well as high-end research.

State Govt cuts red tape for Wipro

The Trinamool Congress Government has decided to allow Wipro freehold land rights on a 50-acre plot in New Town, enabling the IT major to use 49 per cent of the land for non-IT purposes without seeking clearances from various departments. The plot has been leased for 99 years.

Unlike many other States, the Bangla Government is not in favour of special economic zones (SEZ). But the decision to allow freehold land rights would give Wipro a lot of freedom.

The Government has already given freehold rights on land to Infosys. And now with this decision in favour of Wipro, it is expected that investors will be very bullish on Bangla.

According to a Finance Department official, once the land becomes freehold, Wipro will be able to develop facilities of its choice without running to several departments. The Government believes that minimum governance is the best governance, the official said.

State Govt enabling better lives for correctional home inmates

The Trinamool Congress Government has always believed in a humanistic approach to governance; not for nothing does it also call itself the Maa-Mati-Manush Government.

In pursuance of this aim, the Government has taken up several skills development projects for correctional home inmates to make their lives better (by earning some money while keeping their minds focused on positive thoughts), and enable them to lead better lives after release.

In correctional homes across Bangla, the Correctional Services Department, by itself as well as in collaboration with various organisations, runs these skills training courses.

Recently, the Dum Dum Central Correctional Home (DDCH), in collaboration with an NGO, ran a project for training inmates with carpentry skills to manufacture a wide variety of home décor items from discarded wooden pieces.

It was a three-day workshop, with classes held one day per week for three weeks. Twenty-five inmates of DDCH were trained through the project.

Teaching to make designer wooden items is aimed at empowering the inmates to promote inclusivity and sustainability through eco-friendly products. The exquisite upcycled wood products are designed using dead and abandoned tree trunks.

Another successful project has been going on at DDCH for almost two years. Run in collaboration with the same NGO, the project is called ‘Jute Story Behind Bars’. Through it, inmates are trained in making artisanal jute products.

The wide array of jute products have been showcased and sold by the inmates at various fairs and exhibitions, evoking excellent response. The products are also displayed and sold at Oxford Bookstore on Park Street.

Source: Millennium Post

State Govt to set up more hydroelectric projects

To further tap the renewable energy resources across the State, the Bangla Government has taken up an elaborate scheme to set up a number of small hydroelectric projects (SHP).

The State Power Department will soon start the construction of Lodhama II Small Hydroelectric Project in Darjeeling, with a capacity of 10 megawatts (MW).

The Power Department is also reviewing the possibility of setting up the Rammam Intermediate Stage Hydroelectric Project, also in north Bengal, with a capacity of 12 MW.

Seven more small hydroelectric projects (SHP) are being planned in north Bengal, named as Ragnu SHP, Ritu SHP, Rishi SHP, Shri SHP, Rithukhola SHP, Teesta Bazar SHP and Tanglu Maney Bhajan SHP. The tendering process for setting them up is underway.

The Power Department has also allotted SHPs of a total capacity of 73.5 MW in Darjeeling district to private agencies. The DPRs for these will be submitted to the department soon.

It may be mentioned that under the Trinamool Congress Government, the Power Department has developed a comprehensive Energy Action Plan in order to generate world-class electricity in Bangla. In its attempt to produce the best quality power, the State Government has focused on the renewable energy sector.

Source: Millennium Post

Massive improvement in public library infrastructure in Bangla

Today is National Library Day. Over the last seven years, the public library infrastructure in Bangla has undergone a sea-change.

The Directorate of Library Services of the State Government has been doing a lot to spread the light of knowledge to students across Bangla. Under the Trinamool Congress Government, the directorate has started several new services and programmes.

Significant achievements:

Public Library Day: Public Library Day in West Bengal for the year 2013-2014 observed in a befitting manner for the first time

Public awareness of Kanyashree: Public libraries raising awareness on iconic State Government projects like Kanyashree

Encouraging women: ‘Women’s Corners’ designated in many government and government-sponsored libraries to increase access to women readers including neo-literates, particularly in areas dominated by minorities and other marginalised segments of population

‘Read Your Own Book’ section: New initiative taken to open ‘Read Your Own Book’ section in State Central Library, where anybody with little or no space to read at home may come to the library with their own books

Improving infrastructure for backward castes: Emphasis being given on improvement of infrastructural facilities in the SC, ST, OBC and minority-concentrated areas, and the Hill Areas of Darjeeling district

Increase in funds for needy regions: Quantum leap in fund released for needy regions – Rs 3 crore for more than 125 public libraries in the Jangalmahal region, Rs 5 crore for more than 135 libraries in the Hill Areas of Darjeeling district, more than Rs 13 crore for libraries situated in the SC and ST-dominated areas

Study centres: Steps taken for opening of study centres in seven government public libraries for availing the study materials of Netaji Subhas Open University and of various competitive examinations; career guidance programmes held

Information centres: Information centres set up in several district, town and sub-divisional libraries

Plan to improve libraries: Long-term planning initiated to improve library services of the State; final report submitted to government recommending the short-term, mid-term and long-term measures that need to be taken up

Computer connection: More than 400 libraries given computers with internet connection for the benefit of the readers

Salary through account transfer on first day of month: Now salaries of all employees of all government-sponsored public libraries disbursed on the first day of every month directly in the individual employee’s name through public sector banks

Khadya Sathi: Food security for Bangla

In the last seven years, the Bangla Government has ensured food security for 90% of the State’s population. Khadya Sathi is one of the flagship programmes of the Bangla Government, implemented by the Food & Supplies Department.

In fact, managing a targeted public distribution system (TPDS) and procurement of paddy and rice at MSP to prevent distressed sale are the principal activities of this department, and the Khadya Sathi Scheme is an integral part of these activities.

The major challenge is to ensure the reach of subsidised foodgrains to the poorest of the poor.

Beneficiaries increased manifold

In financial year (FY) 2010-11, 2.74 crore people in Bangla were getting rice at Rs 2 per kg. This covered only the people under below poverty line (BPL) and Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) categories. In order to improve the access to food for the vulnerable sections, the coverage was increased manifold in the following seven years by the Trinamool Congress Government.

The flagship programme, Khadya Sathi was launched in January 2016. As of now, it ensures food security for around 8.59 crore people. Out of this, 7.20 crore people belonging to disadvantaged sections of society, who get rice and wheat at Rs 2 per kg and the comparatively well-off 1.39 crore people get foodgrains at half the market price.

Special categories

Out of the 7.2 crore people, 48.07 lakh beneficiaries are covered under special packages for the Jangalmahal region, Cyclone Aila-affected families, unwilling land-giving farmers of Singur, workers and non-workers of closed tea gardens, Hill areas, Toto tribe (staying in Totopara), and other destitute and homeless people. The achievement shows the exponential growth in coverage of people under PDS.

Special package for severely acute malnourished children

Part of the Khadya Sathi Scheme is a special package for severely acute malnourished (SAM) children. This nutrition programme is implemented in association with Health & Family Welfare Department. As part of this, from FY 2014-15, free-of-cost nutritional support is being provided to approximately 5,200 SAM category children and their mothers. The package consists of 5 kg rice, 2.5 kg wheat, 1 kg masoor dal and 1kg Bengal gram per month.

Thus, through the Khadya Sathi scheme, Mamata Banerjee-led Bangla Government is ensuring nutritional security for people of all ages across the length and breadth of the State. Access to proper food is no longer an issue now.

Bengal Govt encouraging aromatic rice cultivation

The Trinamool Congress Government has, over the last few years, done a lot for increasing the cultivation of aromatic rice varieties, which have a high demand inside the State and in other parts of the country, as well as outside the country. Exports have seen a steady rise.

Another effort taken by the Government is the decision to distributed seeds of aromatic rice for free. They are being distributed by North Bengal Krishi Viswavidyalaya.

As of now three varieties have distributed – tulaipanji, kataribhog and kalonunia.

Seeds of tulaipanji are being distributed in Hemtabad, Raiganj, Kaliaganj and Itahar in Uttar Dinajpur district, in Balurghat and Kushmandi in Dakshin Dinajpur, and in Malda district. Kataribhog is being distributed in the district of Malda and in Kumarganj, Tapan, Hili and Balurghat in Dakshin Dinajpur, while kalonunia is being distributed in Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and Alipurduar districts.

Source: Millennium Post

State Govt looking after all aspects of fishermen’s welfare

The State Fisheries Department has taken several important measures for the welfare of fishermen, both in professional and personal aspects.

Professional welfare

Primary among the professional welfare facilities are fish transportation facilities, biometric identity cards and on-sea distress alert systems.

Fish transportation facilities: Various fish transportation facilities have been distributed by the State Government – 7,300 Jal-Hundis to inland and marine fishermen as well as among fishermen’s cooperative societies, 1,237 Matsyajans, 10,500 bicycles with insulated boxes as well as 35,000 insulated boxes.

Identity facilitation: Biometric identity cards are being issued by the Government to marine fishermen; about 2.47 lakh identity cards have already been issued. Marine fishing vessels are being registered under the provisions of the Merchant Shipping Act, 1958 (for mechanised boats) and the West Bengal Marine Fishing Regulation Act, 1993 (for non-mechanised boats).

Distress alert: For the safety and security of fishermen, the Government has taken up a programme for the free distribution of distress alert transmitters (DAT), to be fitted on to the vessels. A total of 3,656 DATs have been distributed till now.

Mechanised boats: A total of 593 mechanised boats – 93 six-cylinder boats and 500 two-cylinder boats – have been distributed as of now, benefiting 3,430 marine fishermen.

Personal welfare

Several personal welfare initiatives have also been taken for fishermen and their families, including pension for the old, insurance schemes and dwelling units.

Old Age Pension Scheme: The Old Age Pension Scheme is a scheme meant for retired and infirm fishermen. Under this scheme, 56,500 fishermen are getting a pension of Rs 1,000 per month.

Accident insurance: Under Fishermen’s Group Personal Insurance Scheme, financial assistance of Rs 2 lakh is provided to the family members of deceased or untraceable marine fishermen, and Rs 1 lakh to those of permanently disabled marine fishermen. During financial year (FY) 2017-18, 2,21,563 fishermen were covered.

Dwelling units: 14,500 houses have been provided for fishermen and their families.


All these prove that the Trinamool Congress Government has given the utmost attention to the welfare of all fisher-folk in the State, ensuring help in every way possible.

Cooperatives to offer interest subsidy for long-term loans to farmers

The Bengal Government has decided to give interest subsidy for long-term loans to farmers from cooperatives.

This was a recent suggestion of the State Level Monitoring Committee for Cooperative Sector, a high-powered committee set up last January to look into the matter of extending banking facilities to more rural areas and into other areas to improve the cooperative sector.

Interest subsidy for short-term loans is already being extended to farmers. Now the same would be given for long-term loans. It will ensure further development of the State in the agriculture sector.

The Trinamool Congress Government has given a new lease of life to the State’s agriculture sector. Decisions like waiving tax on agricultural land and helping farmers with modern tools, and many others, have ensured an increase in the yield of numerous crops, helping the State bag the Central Government’s Krishi Karman Award for five consecutive years.

For the welfare of farmers, old-age pension – to those above 60 years – is being given. The number of recipients was recently decided to be increased, as well as the amount – from 69,000 to 1 lakh, and from Rs 650 to Rs 750 per month to Rs 1,000, respectively.

Source: Millennium Post

India’s first transgender lit fest to be held in Kolkata

India’s first literature festival for transgender people in the second week of July.

This was recently announced in Kolkata by Sahitya Akademi, whose eastern India branch is organising the meet. According to the organisers, the event will empower the community.

In this connection, it needs to be mentioned that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has always prioritised transgender rights, and the Trinamool Congress Government was only the third State Government to set up a development board for the community in 2015.

Manabi Bandopadhyay, a trendsetter in transgender rights and the vice-chairman of the above-mentioned board, who is also the country’s first transgender college principal, is taking the lead role in suggesting the names of authors who will be participating in the event.

Source: The Times of India