KOLKATA: With an eye on the 2021 assembly elections, the Trinamool Congress administration in West Bengal on Tuesday launched its massive outreach programme 'Duare Sarkar' (government at doorsteps) to ensure that people avail the benefits of 11 state-run welfare schemes.
Elections to the 294-member state assembly are due in April-May next year.
People were seen queuing up in front of various ward and panchayat offices to avail the benefits of the schemes.
The outreach programme will continue till January 30.
With slogan 'jar jekhane darkar, asche apnar duare sarkar' (government will be at your doorsteps whenever you need it), the programme will be conducted for two months in four phases.
"This is a revolutionary step taken by our government to that ensure no one is left out. All those who are eligible for the schemes will get the benefits. For example, Swastha Sathi (health scheme) will cover the entire population of the state," Municipal Affairs Minister Firhad Hakim said while inaugurating a ward office here.
The 11 schemes will be made available to the beneficiaries through camps set up for the purpose, he said.
The camps will be functional from 10 am to 4 pm every day, an official said.
The schemes include globally acclaimed 'Kanyashree', a cash transfer programme aimed at retaining girls in schools and preventing their early marriage, 'Khadya Sathi' which aims at ensuring food security for 90 per cent of the population and 'Sikhashree', a one-time grant to SC and ST students studying in classes 5-8 to reduce their dropout rates.
Other schemes include 'Rupashree', a one-time grant of Rs 25,000 to poor families during their daughter's marriage, 'Jai Johar' for the betterment of STs, 'Taposili Bandhu' pension scheme for SCs and 'Aikyashree' scholarship programme for students from minority communities.
State BJP chief Dilip Ghosh, however, alleged that the TMC government kicked off its election campaign using public money.
"They are using public money for the election campaign. After 10 years, if the state government has to launch a campaign to ensure everybody gets the benefits, then the TMC leaders should be ashamed of themselves," Ghosh said.
Hakim, while reacting to the allegations, said Ghosh should first answer about the amount of public money spent by the BJP-led government at the Centre on its publicity.
(THE NEW INDIAN EXPRESS)