Kolkata: With the chit fund bust leading to thousands of investors being defrauded, the West Bengal government on Wednesday proposed a social security scheme which will ensure "decent and proper" returns.
"In view of the current chit fund fiasco where thousands of people have been duped, the government is thinking of floating a social security scheme where people can safely deposit money and get decent and proper returns after a certain period of time," Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said.
"Since the people have faith in the government, it will help them deposit money in the proposed scheme and not go elsewhere like chit funds and get duped," Banerjee told reporters at the secretariat.
The Chief Minister said the people turned to investments in chit funds since the interest rates in small savings are falling.
"So, they are flocking to these companies promising higher returns and getting cheated subsequently," she said.
The idea mooted by the government will be posted on the website of the Finance Department to seek the opinion of the public, Banerjee said.
After getting public opinion, the government will chalk out details and a legislation will have to be passed, she said. The name of the scheme would be decided later.
Referring to the anti-chit fund bill passed recently in the Assembly and for which the Governor`s signature has been obtained, the Chief Minister said, Finance Minister Amit Mitra and Finance Secretary have met the Prime Minister and Home Minister for quick processing of the bill in getting Presidential assent.
CPI(M) leader Anisur Rehman, however, dubbed the scheme as a ploy to divert attention and demanded that the state government take steps to pay the defrauded investors.
"It is nothing but a ploy to divert attention from the chit fund fraud. Rather than coming out with schemes, the government should try to return the money of poor investors," he said.
Economist Suman Mukhopadhay also felt that such schemes would not be feasible.