Cash transfer: Mamata’s promise for women in Goa gives Opposition a handle in West Bengal

West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee is visiting Goa for the second time in the last two months. Ms. Banerjee is likely to address three public meetings in Goa flagging of party’s election campaign in the western coastal state. However, her announcement “Griha Laxmi Card” to women in Goa has given a handle to the Opposition in West Bengal to target the TMC.

“I am delighted to announce the #GrihaLaxmiCard, our solemn promise to financially empower the women of every Goan household. Under this, an assured monthly income support of ₹5,000/month will be provided to every family in Goa,” she had tweeted on December 11, ahead of her visit to Goa.

The TMC had announced a similar “Lakshmir Bhandar” scheme in West Bengal ahead of the Assembly polls and implemented the scheme after coming to power. Under the scheme, ₹500 is given per month to every woman from general category and ₹1,000 to the women of reserved category. The rolling out of “Lakshmir Bhandar” has been touted out as the biggest cash transfer in West Bengal with about 1.6 crore applying and the State Government allocating benefits to about 1.4 crore beneficiaries.

The Opposition parties, however, have raised questions on the huge difference in the payout.

Congress leader and former Union Minister P Chidambaram said: “Here is a math that deserves the Nobel Prize for Economics. A monthly grant of ₹5,000 to a woman in 3.5 lakh households in Goa will cost ₹175 crore a month. That is ₹₹2,100 crore a year,” he said. “It is a ‘small’ sum for Goa that had an outstanding debt of ₹23,473 crores at the end of March 2020. God bless Goa! Or should it be God save Goa?,” he asked.

Responding to the remarks, TMC leader and party’s incharge of Goa Mahua Moitra said, “ Yes sir @PChidambaram_IN ₹5000 to 3.5 lakh Goan households = ₹2,100 crores is 6-8% of total budget which is perfectly doable Good economics in depressed post covid scenario requires putting cash in hand & liquidity into system,” she said on social media.

West Bengal Congress president Adhir Ranjan Chowhury also through a series of tweets targeted the TMC. “Dear Goanese people, do not let yourselves to be deceived by those #TMC party’s tricksters….,” he said.

The State Bharatiya Janata Party leadership including Leader of the Opposition Suvendu Adhikari also targeted the TMC on the difference in the cash incentives for West Bengal and Goa . BJP leader Sayanatan Basu said the TMC leaders are well aware that if they promise ₹500 to people of Goa nobody will take them seriously.

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