By Digvijaya Singh | June 21, 2014 |
President's address to the Parliament or Governor's address in the State is an opportunity for the Government to indicate through the Legislature to the People the road map for its intent for the next year.
I was expecting major Policy changes as promised by Narendra Modi in the Presidential Address but was disappointed.
There is no obvious change in the Policies of the earlier UPA Government but endorsement of the UPA Government policies.
People have given BJP a clear mandate which they asked for and they have to deliver as promised. There are no excuses now.
Most significant promise of BJP was to contain Inflation. What is the strategy of Modi to contain Inflation ? I quote "My Government will take effective steps to prevent hoarding and black marketing."
In a Federal Democracy it is the responsibility of State Government to prevent hoarding and black marketing for which UPA Government had given full authority to the States.
Would BJP please tell us the steps which BJP ruled States took to prevent hoarding and black marketing? Would PM tell us what steps did the Gujarat Government take to contain Inflation through action against hoarders and black marketers?
The first decision which the Modi Government took was to raise the price of Petroleum products!
BJP is known for its Marketing Skills and attractive Packaging!
UPA Government's Inclusive Governance is packaged as "Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas"
Poverty Alleviation is packaged as "Poverty Elimination"
Accelerated Irrigation Programme is packaged as "Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojna" with the motto " Har Khet ko Paani".
Nirmal Bharat Yojna is packaged as "Swachh Bharat Yojna".
UPA Government's Skill Development is packaged as "Har Haath Ko Hunar".
UPA's programme for protecting Girl Child is packaged as "Beti Bachao- Beti Padao".
But after 12 years of Modi rule in Gujarat the Female Male Ratio has deteriorated!
In para 9 it promises to "improve the quality of life in our villages through empowered Panchayati Rajya institutions".
What has been the track record of the empowerment of Panchayati Rajya institutions in BJP ruled States ? All the rights have been given to the Officials and elected representatives are just figure heads.
President's address shows concern about the suicides of Farmers but it doesn't mention any thing which UPA Government hasn't done.
Food Processing was a priority with UPA Government and Food Parks have been set up. The biggest beneficiary has been Baba Ramdev!
During UPA regime Farmers got highest hike in Minimum Support Price of Paddy and Wheat much more than what they got in NDA regime.
They are now proposing an IIT and IIM in every State but forget to mention that UPA has almost doubled IITs and IIMs during its regime.
Now they are promising a AIIMS in every State but do not mention that UPA has set up 6 new AIIMS during its regime.
Budget for NRHM and Sarv Shiksha Abhiyan was increased many folds during UPA regime.
Concern for Minorities from BJP led NDA is a welcome sign. But PM as CM Gujarat refused to spend funds given by GOI for Minority Schemes!
Would he now agree to allocate and then spend funds earmarked for Minorities in the Country? If he did that it would be a welcome change.
I have always raised the issue of double speak by BJP. NDA Government led by Atal Behari Vajpayee initiated the process of VAT and as CM MP I initiated the process and MP was the first State to implement it.
But after UPA Government came in BJP State Governments opposed VAT.
Again GST was under consideration even during NDA regime but they opposed when in opposition but now they support GST.
Similarly BJP vehemently opposed Nuclear Deal and now in the President's address para 31 have said “The International Civil Nuclear agreements will be operationalised and Nuclear Power projects for civilian purposes will be developed."
Congress Party has always encouraged friendly relations with the neighbouring Countries. But Dr Manmohan Singhji was bitterly criticised whenever he tried to befriend Pakistan.
But PM in a total volte-face invited Pakistan PM for his swearing in ceremony!
But we support all efforts to befriend our neighbours and resolve all contentious issues through negotiations.
We also support mention about Kashmiri Pandits' return to Valley. All efforts should be made to ensure that. But at the same time those who don't want to go back their proper rehabilitation should be ensured.
In the first place it was a wrong decision to shift them out of the Valley where they had lived for Centuries in total Harmony with the Muslims.
To convince them to go back to their Home and Hearth in the Valley would be a great challenge for all Political Parties. Let us all get together to create this kind of an environment of mutual trust and confidence among the Muslims and the Hindus in the Valley and in Jammu which encourages them to go back.
Would the hard core Fundamentalists on both sides would allow this to happen? I have my doubts but it is worth putting our heads together.
To conclude I would only say that the new Government instead of blaming the earlier Government for all kinds of ills must start correcting all the wrong decisions. But this President's Address doesn't indicate that. On the contrary it has virtually endorsed all the UPA policies!
Dr Manmohan Singh rightly commented that it almost sounded as a Presidential Address of UPA 3!