Guwahati: Assam’s ruling BJP MLA Mrinal Saikia on Thursday claimed in the assembly that benefits under various government welfare schemes are harming the work culture of the people of the state and a section of them are becoming lazy.
Saikia asserted that 90 per cent of the people do not utilise the funds they get from the schemes for the right purpose.
“I am happy that our government has given so many schemes to the people, but we need to develop work culture also among our people,” he said, raising the matter through a Special Mention.
While the Assamese people have become lazy, the people of “Bengal-origin” are hardworking and had they not been here, work would have been very slow, Saikia claimed.
“If a local mason starts a work, he will take more than a month to finish it, while a mason of Bengal-origin will finish the same work in seven days,” he said.
When an opposition MLA tried to question Saikia on what he meant by “Bengal-origin”, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma requested him not to divert the issue as the discussion was being held in a positive manner.
The entry of Bangladeshis illegally through the porous Indo-Bangla border has been a serious issue for Assam for several decades.
While government benefits as help are alright, it cannot be a permanent solution, Saikia added.
Claiming that a section of people are making careers out of organising protests, he said, “Andolan jeevis (people who survive on protests) are unique to Assam.”
The chief minister, in his reply, agreed with Saikia’s views and said, “As government schemes are increasing, questions are being raised that our work culture might be suffering or going down.”
He, however, said that the youth of the state are not without the drive to work.
Citing his recent discussion with a group of pig farmers of the state, Sarma said that the reasons for local enterprises not succeeding at the desired level are many.
“Many a time, the cost of production, be in it rearing pigs or growing crops, is higher than in places from where it is imported to the state. Then there is the issue of low-profit realisation.
“It is not that our people are not willing to work. We have so many success stories where a small bunch of people have scripted success, be it the small tea growers or the dairy farmers,” the chief minister said.
Emphasising the need for creating an enabling atmosphere, Sarma said, “We saw a long period of agitations and insurgency. For the cause of peace, schemes with no production linkage had to be announced. But there is a need to shift gear now.”
In this year’s budget, there is a roadmap for being self-sufficient within the next five years in some sectors, he added.
He exhorted the MLAs to groom at least 5,000 skilled youths in their constituencies over the next five years.
“We make heroes out of protestors, not the farmers whose produce captures international markets. The definition of hero needs to change and our government will do it,” he added.
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