Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Central team rejects Modi's charge of bias

A 'Group of Ministers on Media' comprising Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Ambika Soni and Law Minister Salman Khurshid on Wednesday rejected Chief Minister Narendra Modi's oft-repeated allegation against the Centre of discriminating against his government on the matter of allocation of funds.
Chidambaram said there was no question of any discrimination against Gujarat and that the figures themselves contradicted Modi's contentions. The Central funding for Gujarat had increased from Rs 21,700 crore in 2005-2006 to Rs 51,000 crore in 2012-13, he said. However, he admitted larger contribution towards the state's development came from its own resources.
Chidambaram also pointed out that Modi was not the only chief minister of a non-Congress-ruled state to make such an allegation. He said he faced such questions from every opposition chief minister, and that during the NDA rule, non-NDA governments in states made similar complaints. “The UPA government is for the development of entire India,” he said.
In response to Modi's claims that Gujarat was the fastest-growing state in the country, Chidambaram said that there was development in Gujarat as in any other state in the country. “All states are growing and the Centre has contributed for the development of all states,” he said.
Criticising the Modi government's Vibrant Gujarat campaign, Soni said malnutrition among women and children in Gujarat was higher than the national average.
While the national average of malnutrition among women was 51 per cent, “it is 55 per cent in Gujarat”, she said. “The state economy can be termed as vibrant when women and children of the state are able to stand on their own.”