The three-tier panchayat polls in West Bengal are scheduled for next year. Understanding that local issues will be the key factors that will determine the mood of the voters, the West Bengal government, from Saturday, has started a detailed survey to feel the pulse of the rural population in the state residing in the panchayat areas.
The idea behind conducting the survey is to have a clear idea about the grievances of the people related to different services provided by the state government in the panchayat areas. The survey will be conducted for a period of one month, where a team of surveyors composed of state government employees will move door to door with a set of 72 questions.
This is for the first time in the last 11 years that the Trinamool Congress government is conducting such a survey for the panchayat polls in the state.
Before 2021, a somewhat similar survey was conducted. But that survey was conducted by poll strategist Prashant Kishor-founded Indian Political Action Committee (I-PAC). But this time the survey is being conducted by the state government through its own team of officers and staff.
In the set of 72 questions in the survey, the focus is on the farming sector. There are questions on whether the farmers are receiving the minimum support price (MSP) fixed by the state government for their produce. There is also a question on whether the farmers are getting a platform to showcase and market their produce.
The state government, through this survey, also wants to have a clear idea about the number of families living in the panchayat areas who have been left out of the food security scheme. It also wants to know who are yet to receive job cards under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and whether they are getting the wages under this same act on a regular basis or not.
In the housing sector, the survey will try to find out whether any beneficiary enlisted for state government-provided housing schemes has been left out. In the education sector, the survey will try to find out the number of school dropouts in the recent past and more importantly whether there has been any increase in the number of girl student dropouts.
IANS tried to contact panchayat minister Pulak Roy for his comments on the issue. However, his mobile phone kept on ringing but went unanswered.