Making a veiled attack on West Bengal's Mamata Banerjee-led government, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the Centre's welfare schemes like Ayushman Bharat and PM Kissan Samman Nidhi were not being allowed in the state as the money gets directly transferred to the beneficiaries, doing away with middlemen, and commissions and disallows syndicates.
The Prime Minister said he feels pain at people of the state not getting the benefits of such schemes.
"If the state government allows the Ayushman Bharat Scheme and the APM Kisan Samman Nidhi... I don't know whether they will give, but if it does give, then people of the state will also start getting benefits of these schemes," Modi said in an address after inaugurating the sesquicentenary celebrations of the Kolkata Port Trust.
He said the Ayushman Bharat Scheme has ensured free treatment for around 75 lakh people suffering from serious illnesses, while almost Rs 43,000 crore have been deposited in the bank accounts of over 8 crore peasant families from the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi.
"There are no middlemen, no cut money. There is no syndicate. When the money reaches the beneficiaries directly, nobody gets a cut, syndicates' writs do not run. Why should somebody allow such schemes to be implemented?" the Prime Minister asked sarcastically.
Syndicates in Bengal refer to cartels of muscle-flexing youth, who enjoy political patronage and are said to force promoters and contractors to buy building construction materials often of inferior quality at high prices.
Without mentioning Banerjee, Modi hoped God would provide good sense to the state's policymakers.
"The country's eight crore peasants are getting so much help, but there will always be a pain in my heart.. I will always want and pray to God, that He gives good sense to policy framers. "Let the poor people of Bengal derive the benefit of Ayushman Bharat Yojana when they fall sick, and the peasants enjoy the fruits of PM Kisan Samman Nidhi which ensures peace and prosperity in their lives," he said.
As the audience broke into rapturous shouts of "Modi, Modi", the Prime Minister said the people of Bengal have made up their minds not to allow anyone to deprive them of the benefits of these schemes.
"It should be our priority to ensure the development of the brave sons of Bengal who raised their voices for the development of villages and poor people. It is not the responsibility of one individual or any one government. Rather it is the collective responsibility, collective resolve and collective grit of the entire country," he said.
Alleging that the Centre was neglecting the state's contribution to the Ayushman Bharat scheme, the Mamata Banerjee government pulled out of the initiative early last year complaining that the project was being used by the Modi regime for its publicity ahead of the then approaching Lok Sabha polls.
Under the scheme, which seeks to bring 50 crores, poor people, under a medical insurance cover of Rs five lakh per year, the states are required to pump in 40 percent of the funds.
On the other hand, the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi is a fully centrally-funded scheme providing beneficiaries income support of Rs. 6,000 per year, The entire responsibility of identification of beneficiary farmer families rests with the state/union territory governments.
Despite lakhs of farmers applying under the scheme, the Banerjee government has refused to clear their names, calling the scheme as a propaganda vehicle for the Modi government.
The Banerjee government has come up with its own medical insurance and peasants' income support schemes.