Hitting out at the BJP-led central government for abolishing the Planning Commission conceptualised by Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday said that her government would come up with a similar body to take ahead the national hero’s ideas and vision.
She urged Nobel laureate economists Amartya Sen and Abhijit Banerjee and Bose’s grandnephew Sugata Bose, a historian, to advise the state government on this.
“Netaji’s Planning Commission has been dissolved by the central government. They have named it (the new body which replaced the institution) Niti Aayog, I do not know. Earlier, I used to go for meetings of the Planning Commission which sought suggestions from each state. Now we cannot share our views,” Banerjee said.
The Planning Commission, a government institution which formulated India’s Five-Year Plans besides performing other functions, was set up in March 1950. The Narendra Modi government disbanded it in 2014 and formed Niti Aayog.
“So, let’s take some initiative. We will start Bengal Planning Commission to take Netaji’s vision to the world level,” Banerjee said at the state secretariat.
“I will request Amartya Sen, Abhijit Banerjee, Sougata Bose to advise us on this,” she said and demanded that Netaji’s birthday on January 23 be declared a national holiday.
She was talking to reporters after a meeting of a committee set up by her government to plan year-long celebrations to mark the occasion of the great freedom fighter’s 125th birth anniversary from this January 23.
Abhijit Banerjee and other members of the committee attended the virtual meeting.
The day will be celebrated as “Desh Nayak Divas” in West Bengal, Banerjee said adding that a “Jai Hind Monument” will soon be erected in Rajarhat area near Kolkata. The slogan ‘Jai Hind’ was popularised by Netaji.
The chief minister also proposed to form a National Cadet Corps (NCC) like organisation in state-run schools and colleges and name it ‘Jai Hind Bahini’.
“If there is the NCC, why cannot we have a Jai Hind Bahini in every school and college? We should have a short film or a documentary on Netaji which schoolchildren can watch. A CD of songs related to Netaji will be brought out,” she said.
Banerjee also said that the state government will set up a “national university” which will be named after Netaji.
“There are several universities named after Netaji. We will set up a national university without taking help from anybody. The West Bengal government will do it. This university will have links to world class universities like Havard, Cambridge and Oxford,” she said.
The chief minister said that a rally from Shyambazar in north Kolkata to Red Road in the central part of the city will be organised on January 23.
The CM also stressed on her demand that the Centre declassify the files which might lead to the unravelling of Netaji’s disappearance.
“We have already declassified (some files). We are demanding that the Centre declassify all files related to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose,” she said after the meeting.
Besides economist Abhijit Banerjee, eminent personalities such as painter Suvaprasanna, theatre personality Rudra Prasad Sengupta, author Sirsendhu Mukherjee, actor and danseuse Mamata Shankar took part at the meeting and shared their views.