The West Bengal government has penned a plea to the central government of India, seeking the release of Rs 828 crore under the National Health Scheme (NHS). The funds are reportedly withheld and are crucial for health-related projects within the state. The NHS is a significant programme aimed at bolstering state governments in India to augment healthcare services and infrastructure. The disbursement of such funds necessitates processing and approval from the central government, underscoring the administrative mechanism involved in the allocation of these resources.
West Bengal's Healthcare Fund Allocation
In the current fiscal year, the Centre has allegedly held back allocations intended for the establishment of primary and block health centres in West Bengal. The letter, penned by the state Health Secretary Narayana Swarup Nigam, was addressed to the Secretary of the Central Finance Commission and the Union Health Secretary. State Health Department officials disclosed that the Central government is yet to disburse funds in multiple tranches for the construction of 474 health centres, 28 primary health centres, and 65 block health centres in the state, marking a sum of Rs 828 crore for the 2021-22 financial year.
Protests for Immediate Fund Release
Simultaneously, the political arena of West Bengal was abuzz with demonstrations. TMC MLAs initiated a protest on the West Bengal assembly campus on Tuesday, demanding the immediate release of central funds for the rural job scheme MGNREGA. The two-day demonstration, conducted in front of the BR Ambedkar statue on the assembly premises, was led by Urban Development Minister Firhad Hakim and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Sovandeb Chattopadhyay. The TMC MLAs vocalized their dissent against the BJP-led government at the Centre, accusing it of sidelining the state's impoverished population.
The Unfolding Administrative Tango
The specifics of how West Bengal plans to utilize the funds were not detailed in the letter. However, the unfolding event shines light on the administrative tango between state and central governments in India, highlighting the complexities involved in the allocation and disbursement of funds for state-specific projects. The situation also brings attention to the political dynamics that play out in the backdrop of these administrative processes, affecting the lives of the state's residents.