More sops for the masses before polls next year
BH CORRESPONDENT, Kolkata: Taking a leaf out of Arvind Kejriwal’s free bijli model, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday promised 75 units of free electricity for every home in the state budget. This comes a year ahead of the Assembly polls in the state in which the ruling Trinamool Congress is likely to face a stiff challenge from a resurgent BJP.
Presenting what is the TMC government’s last budget before the state elections next year, finance minister Amit Mitra also announced a monthly pension of Rs 1,000 for people belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC) above 60 years of age. The scheme has been named ‘Bandhu Prakalpa’ for SC category and ‘Jai Johar’ for the ST community.
The finance minister also set aside Rs 500 crore for the housing scheme for tea garden workers, named ‘Chai Sundari’. According to Mitra, the scheme is expected to benefit three lakh workers in 370 tea gardens across the state. The state government also allocated Rs 200 crore for the MSME (Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) sector.
The state government will set up three new civil service academies and three universities at Kolkata, Durgapur and Siliguri. Rs 50 crore has been allocated for these three universities. The government will also set up more fast track courts across the state to expedite closure of pending cases.