A well-knit propaganda, made to spun along with Cyclone Amphan fell flat on the ground of truth. The shameful display of the politics by the state reached new lows when even a help like a 1000 crores package was used for political gains.
For the last one week or so, we saw a well-knit series of propaganda by some enlightened minds of our state. They smell political controversy everywhere and in everything. There was on display a brilliant touch of identity politics mixed with regionalism and topped with separatism today, "Bengal will fight it alone". I don’t understand, what might be the reason to say so?
The reasons stated are as follows :-
● “Prime Minister doesn't care about Bengal, Prime Minister didn’t tweet”.
• Here is PM Modi’s tweet from 18th May 2020, where he reviewed the preparedness regarding the situation due to cyclone ‘Amphan', the response measures as well as evacuation plans.
Reviewed the preparedness regarding the situation due to cyclone ‘Amphan.’ The response measures as well as evacuation plans were discussed. I pray for everyone's safety and assure all possible support from the Central Government. https://t.co/VJGCRE7jBO
• Here is another such tweet of PM from 21st may, 2020
Have been seeing visuals from West Bengal on the devastation caused by Cyclone Amphan. In this challenging hour, the entire nation stands in solidarity with West Bengal. Praying for the well-being of the people of the state. Efforts are on to ensure normalcy.
Also the Facebook and Twitter handles of the MOH, Ministry of Home Affairs has done hourly updates on their handles, for two days. Then, one may wonder what was even point of such propaganda?
Now, some beautiful assertions fueled by the ruling party of our state are hilarious to say the least."Centre will never help Bengal and will do politics over this cyclone". The mass amnesia is real. Anyways, just a year ago, it was "Fani" which had hit West Bengal and Odisha.
● What was CM Mamata Banerjee's response to central government's aid on cyclone Fani?
Well, karma hits hard and now as she has the political gains on the opposite response, she comfortably chooses to "call" PM Modi for a visit, which the PM had already pre-planned.
Now even if we believe that she also invited him, the political lows in the West Bengal had serious downfall when a PM was meted with the placards of "Go back Modi" simply because, he dared to come for an inspection in a natural disaster.
Prime announced a well-structured advance relief amount as an advance, immediate aid of ₹1000 crores to West Bengal and on top of that, 2 lakh to the kin of the deceased & 50 thousands to the seriously injured by the Cyclone Amphan, as a Central Government initiative.
They were 2-0 down on their rounds of propaganda, already when they came up with another round.
After the allocation of funds by the Central government, the State government came up with the argument that the Government of India owes 13k crore as GST compensation and tax devolutions to West Bengal. They termed this aid-in-advance as insufficient and declared their judgement that the central government is "insulting" west Bengal.
● Some facts are important to be pointed out for the above claims:
• The money which has been allocated as of now is just a pre-damage analysis advance. It was clearly mentioned by the PM that there will be future allocations as well after the central government's supervision team comes and analyses the situation and damages. On top of the 1000 crore amount, 2 lakhs to deceased's kin and 50 thousand to the kin of severely injured will be provided.
• GST overdues are not something which is special with West Bengal. The central government owes much more to a BJP- ruled state - Uttar Pradesh. This devolution solely depends on the GST collections and as per the share recommended by the 15th Finance commission, this money is distributed. So, there's clearly no case of political favoritism or regional favoritism, here.
• The Finance ministry released a total of Rs. 3,461.65 crores in April and May, as tax devolution to West Bengal. There was a contribution to the revenue deficit and SDRMF also by the central government. The tax devolution was not given on the actual collection which was really low due to the pandemic, but it was given on the estimation done under 2020-21 bugdet which is much higher.
• It's funny when the TMC government talks about someone, owing money. The outstanding debt % to GSDP of the state stands at 32.9% which is much higher than the 20% recommendation of FRBM review committee. The state government owes around 3.6 lakh+ crore to the central government. The debt payment as calculated for the year 2020 under the bugdet of the state is itself Rs. 77,047 crores.
Should the central government put up this issue, now? Should they ask for 3.6 lakh crores from Mamata Banerjee? The answer would be obviously not. The state is dealing with a cyclone. It is time to coordinate and unite and not stoop to the same old political game.
Just when the WB state government back in the pavilion, were busy counting fallen wickets of their propaganda, the Central government went for a knock out.
• 1000 crore as promised by the Prime Minister and released in no time, credited to the account of state government, within 24 hours.
• 10 additional NDRF teams were deployed in the state, 26 were already working. 4 teams were urgently airlifted on 21st May, 2020.
• Within 3 hours of the request by the State home ministry, 5 columns of army were deployed in West Bengal, equipped with road and tree clearance equipment.
This was the story, how a Cyclone was used to launch a propaganda filled with identity politics, separatist mindset and regionalism but fell flat on its face. However, in this cyclotron of propaganda, the ejected electron was hypocrisy of a state government and display of shameful politics during a natural disaster.
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