In his first address marking the commencement of the new session, West Bengal Governor M.K. Narayanan congratulated the government of ‘Ma-Mati-Manush’ (mother-soil-humanity), saying the government aimed at an impartial, efficient and transparent administration, free from nepotism and corruption.
At a press conference soon afterwards, Leader of the Opposition Surya Kanta Mishra said that the Governor’s speech sounded like party literature and manifesto. “Even the party’s slogan [ma-mati-manush] featured in the speech.” He also resented the fact that the Opposition had not been given the requisite notice on the session’s advancement and the new alliance in power was showing scant regard for the Constitution, rules and convention. “Time-honoured conventions were not being followed.”
Mr. Narayanan said the government planned to streamline measures to speed up release of political prisoners and a move had already been taken in this direction. The government would not employ the police for subjugating democratic movements. “The police will be directed to act impartially while protecting democratic rights.” At the very outset, the government would launch an investigation into political murders, torture and death in police custody and corruption in high places in the last 34 years, he said.
The Governor said that taking a “realistic view of the circumstances, the State was likely to face a cash deficit as high as Rs 9000 crore during the current financial year 2011-12.”
He said there had been under-provisioning in vital areas of social infrastructure and human development to the extent of Rs 3000 crore.” Under-provisioning was seen in such critical sectors as food and supplies, health and family welfare, minority affairs, public health, engineering, school education, transport, urban development and women and child development.
Mr. Narayanan expected the government to come out with a White Paper on the financial status of the State in due course.
On industry, the governor said the State development today depended largely on the progress it achieved in the area of IT. West Bengal lagged behind in this regard. The new government would lay special emphasis on this.
In education, democratisation of governing bodies and regular payment of salaries would be seriously pursued, he said. The Governor also listed the various initiatives taken by the government over the last few days even as he noted that the government had had very little time to assess the problems in detail. A clearer vision of the government would be oriented in the next session of the Assembly.