The Students’ Federation of India (SFI) on June 29 held demonstrations inside the Calcutta University Campus, accusing Trinamool Congress’ (TMC) students union of taking ‘cut money’ for students’ admission in various courses. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers on Tuesday alleged that six of them were injured after TMC supporters attacked them for complaining to police regarding cut-money here. The raging protests against cut money that have rocked Bengal for the last few weeks. If you are wondering ‘What exactly is ‘Cut Money?’ and how it has increased the tension in West Bengal you have landed on the right page.
The TMC has been facing a lot of crisis after the BJP won 18 seats of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal. Several lawmakers and workers have left the party and joined the BJP after the results were out. If this was not enough, TMC leaders are facing the fresh challenge now. Recently, Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee has asked her party leaders to return the ‘cut money’ they took from the people. After the announcement, the TMC leaders are being targeted for the refund and for the same protests and demonstrations are being held across the state.
What is cut money in simple terms?
‘Cut Money’ is the illegal commission (amount or percentage of money) charged by local politicians or party workers from the citizens in return to avail benefits of government schemes. The commission is further divided within everyone, from grassroots leaders to higher-ups in the political order.
How does it work?
For instance, if the government releases Rs 200 toward financing a particular project, then the local politician will charge about Rs 50 for helping the citizen avail the benefit. This commission is further divided from the lowest grassroots level politician to the senior most member of the party.
According to The Indian Express, Rs 500-600 per beneficiary are being charged under Ujwala Scheme for LPG connections; Rs 10,000 to 25,000 is charged per the beneficiary for Banglar Bari (Prime Minister Awas Yojana); Rs 900 to 2,000 per the beneficiary is charged for Nirmal Bangla (Swachh Bharat Mission - Gramin) and Rs 20-40 per day for MGNREGS.
High Court Intervention
After Mamata Banerjee announcement, the Calcutta High Court directed Bengal Food Minister Jyotipriya Mullick, his assistant, a councilor and the state to respond within four weeks to a complaint filed by two businessman brothers. According to the brothers, they had been asked to pay Rs 30 lakh for permission to set up a nursing home. In their complaint, the brothers said that they have submitted a proposal to a councilor’s office but was asked to pay Rs 30 lakh. The brothers initially paid Rs 4 lakh and Rs 16 lakh later. The complainant also claim that they tried to lodge complaints against the culprit but their complaints were not registered. Instead, several criminal cases were lodged against them.
‘Cut Money’ Song
Popular singer Nachiketa Chakraborty has uploaded a song titled ‘Cut Money’ on YouTube. The song that soon went viral on the internet, has lyrics that urge corrupt politicians to return people’s money in a bid to avoid their wrath. The song also caught the attention of singer turned politician Babul Supriyo who thanked Chakraborty for drawing people’s attention to the issue with the proper quotient of satire. Chakraborty is an ardent supporter of the West Bengal CM and has performed at several TMC events.