HEMTABAD, WEST BENGAL: West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today claimed that the fresh reduction in provident fund interest is a fallout of the Punjab National Bank (PNB) scam and that the working class would suffer hugely due to the rate cut.
The Trinamool Congress supremo claimed that the funds were being drawn from the people's pockets to balance the loss of an estimated Rs 11,400 crore suffered due to the PNB scam.
Stating that the working class would suffer hugely due to the latest cut in the interest rate, she said that the PF rates, which were 8.82 per cent when the BJP-led NDA government came to power in 2014, has now come down to 8.55 per cent.
The Employees' Provident Fund Organisation's (EPFO), the retirement fund body had yesterday lowered the rate of interest on employees provident fund to 8.55 per cent for its over six crore subscribers for 2017-18 from 8.65 per cent in the previous fiscal.
''Funds are drawn from people's pockets to balance the accounts whenever there is a loot. Think of the loss to a common man owing to this 0.10 per cent reduction in the PF interest rate,'' she told a public rally in this North Dinajpur'district hamlet in north Bengal.
Alleging that the BJP's policy was to ''snatch farmers' and general public's money and make them pennyless'', she said that senior citizens, who keep their money in banks, have been hugely hit with the reduction in interest rates in different savings schemes of the PSU banks and small savings.
''PF, small savings interest rates have been reduced drastically by this government and now people don't even know whether they will get back the money they have kept in banks,'' Banerjee said.
The chief minister said that the Centre is planning to bring the Financial Resolution and Deposit Insurance (FRDI) Bill through which banks would decide whether a depositor would get his money back or not even if it has been invested in fixed deposits.
She claimed that 12,000 farmers have died after failing to repay loans due to various reasons, including crop failure.
''We had asked the Centre to waive farmers' loans, but they did not.''
If a farmer fails to repay loan then his land or house is taken away. But if banks are looted with government connivance then who should be punished ?'' she asked.
Alleging that people are not safe under the BJP dispensation at the Centre, she said that in the present government's tenure people have no social security or financial security.
''They are only chanting 'Achhe din', but it has proved to be a mirage for the people and has become a reality for the BJP only,'' she said, adding that the BJP was depriving people of their basic rights to livelihood.
Continuing her tirade, she said whenever elections come, the BJP tends to create divisions between teh Hindus and Muslims.
After the polls are over, it reduces interests in PF, FDs in banks and small saving schemes affecting the general public.
West Bengal is set for panchayat poll within a few months, results of which could be an indicator about the political parties in the state in the next Lok Sabha polls.
The state has 42 LS seats.