Bengal government was digital long before Centre: Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata, Feb 10 (IANS) Urging the central government to trust the infrastructure of the state governments, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday claimed that her government started the drive for digitalisation much earlier.

“Some people have suddenly started talking about digital (economy). We have gone digital in the state long ago. All work of the West Bengal government is done online – ‘e-tender’,’ e-servicing’ to ‘e-governance’ is done in the digital way. What is left to be done,” Banerjee told media after the presentation of the state budget here.

She suggested the Bharatiya Janata Party-led central government make use of the software of the states for providing online services.

“The state government has its own software. The central government must trust the state government. I am not only taking about our state. If other state governments also have their own software, it should be connected to the centre’s software,” she said.

Banerjee urged the Centre to ensure political colour did not come in the way of development.

“Doing the work is more important than who has done it. What is the need to see the political colour when it comes to development?” she asked.

Banerjee termed the central government’s demonetisation move as a ‘haphazard decision’ and said the nation’s economy was down by ’25 per cent’ since the banning of old Rs 1,000 and Rs 500 currency notes on November 8.

“The economy of the country is down by 25 percent since the ‘Notebandi’. Recession has started and the GDP growth has slowed down since the decision,” Banerjee said.

“We have said from the beginning that it is wrong to impose something on the people without thinking of an alternative. There is a huge difference between a planned move and a haphazard decision. As a result, the common people are left clueless,” she said.

The Trinamool Congress supremo alleged that while the state government has considerably increased its revenue earnings, it has to give away a major share to the centre for repaying the debts of the previous (Left Front) government.

“We have increased our revenue earnings from Rs 20 thousand crore to more than Rs 40 thousand crore every year. But we have to give out the entire amount to the centre to repay the debt incurred by the CPI-M government,” she said.

Taking a swipe at the central government for reducing the funds in health and child welfare projects, Banerjee said her government has a bouquet of projects for the newborns as well as the deceased.

“The central government has reduced funding for community health workers called ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activists) and ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme),” she said.

“Our state government has welfare projects like ‘Sabujshree’ for new born girls to ‘Somobyathi’ that gives financial assistance for people’s cremation or burial. The previous state government of CPI-M (led Left Front) or the BJP and the Congress at the Centre could not come up with anything like this,” she added.