TMC appeals to Centre to clear WB dues, wants MPLADS money credited to migrants

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NEW DELHI: The Trinamool Congress (TMC) on Sunday appealed to the Centre to clear its dues to West Bengal, claiming that the Union government owes Rs 53,000 crore to the state under different heads.
It also demanded that the money saved by suspending the Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) fund for two years be given directly to migrant workers in their bank accounts.
Addressing the media via video link on Sunday, party's national spokesperson and its leader in Rajya Sabha, Derek O'Brien said the Centre's past dues to the state was a whopping Rs 53,000 cr: Rs 36,000 crore on account of centrally-supported schemes, Rs 11,000 crore as devolution of funds, Rs 3,000 crore on unpaid subsidies for food, and Rs 3,000 crore from April-May GST dues.
"The total damage due to (cyclone) Amphan is estimated to be Rs 1,02,000 crore. The Centre gave Rs 1,000 crore only. What about the balance one lakh one thousand crore?
"The state has spent Rs 1,200 crore on fighting the coronavirus epidemic. The Centre has given Rs 144 crore under the National Health Mission and Rs 250 crore under the SDRF. What about the remaining Rs 806 crore?," he asked.
Alleging that the economic package announced recently by the Centre was "empty" and the reforms "hollow", he said Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman's assertion that the FRBM (Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management) limit has been raised from 3 per cent to 5 per cent was "incorrect".
"It is incorrect. FRBM unconditional raised from 3% to 3.5%, an increase of just 0.5%. For the other 1.5% certain conditions have to be met. In the present circumstances, it looks near-impossible for any state to fulfil these conditions," he said.
He also said that no assistance has been provided to the unorganised sector in the package announced by the Centre.
He urged the government to transfer the money saved through the discontinuation of the MPLADS funds to the bank accounts of migrant workers.
"The Centre stopped MPLADS funds for two years, that is a saving of around Rs 8,000 crore. Put Rs 10,000 each in the bank accounts of 80 lakh workers in the unorganised sector," he said.

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