Global Covid panel served no purpose; close it down: BJP MP Swapan Dasgupta to Mamata

Kolkata, May 6 (PTI) BJP Rajya Sabha MP Swapan Dasgupta on Wednesday wrote to West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to close down a global panel set up last month to advise her government in reviving the economy post- lockdown, claiming that it has not served any real purpose.

The state government ran advertisements on newspapers and digital media 'trumpeting' the formation of the Global Advisory Board at the cost of the state exchequer in the 'present trying times', he said in the letter.

Wondering whether the Global Advisory Board, comprising experts from different fields from the world over including Nobel Laureate economist Abhijit Banerjee, has met even once, even through video conference, Dasgupta asked the chief minister to wind up the panel.

The journalist-turned-politician said that people were anxious to know about the functioning of the Board as 'public money has been spent on its constitution and propagation through expensive advertisements'.

Alleging that it has so far served no real purpose, Dasgupta said, 'It is perhaps time to unwind the Global Advisory Board and focus on real issues which can help the people of West Bengal feel assured that they will be protected against the pandemic.' 'To chalk out a future roadmap on how to revive the economy and help the downtrodden and develop health infrastructure, we have set up a Global Advisory Board to form the COVID-19 response policy in the state,' the chief minister had said on April 6.

Besides the Indian-origin economist, other experts in the fields of medicine, economy and public health would be part of the Board, she had said. PTI AMR NN NN