Wednesday, June 27, 2012

UPA pricks Modi's growth bubble

Gujarat has 80% malnourished women against national average of 51%, says Ambika Soni 

The Union Group of Ministers on media focused on the achievements of the UPAII, while countering the developmental claims made by Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
    Union Home Minister P Chidabaram did not dispute state's growth rate, but claimed that when the average growth rate of the country is a certain number it is natural for some states to have a growth rate higher than the national average. He said that Gujarat's planned outlay was Rs 11,000 crore in 2005, which has risen to Rs 51,000 crore in 2012. “The outlay has state resources and Central resources,” Chidambaram said.
    Ambika Soni commented on the high rate of malnutrition in women and children in Gujarat. “In all the BJP-ruled states we hear about the vibrancy in Gujarat. Vibrancy is achieved only when women and children live with self respect and without fear,” Soni said.
    She claimed that against the national average of 51 per cent of malnourished women, in Gujarat it was 46 per cent in 2004, which has risen to 80 per cent now.
    Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid claimed that while the Centre gave 63 lakh scholarships to children belonging to the minority community, the Gujarat government has refused the scholarship programme claiming that they had adequate programmes to take care of the minorities.
    Asked about the jolt to the UPA after the SC rejected 4.5 per cent sub-quota for minorities in central educational institutions, including in IITs this year, Khurshid claimed that the Centre will soon approach the regular bench of the Supreme Court and that SC vacation bench always tends to be a bit conservative. “There is no need to go to Parliament as such decisions can be taken by the executive and we provided the material needed to bolster the case. We will approach the regular bench now,” he claimed.
Members of Search My Child, a campaign initiated by a non-profit organisation, submitted a memorandum to Union home minister P Chidambaram requesting him to assist the parents searching for their missing children at the national level.
    They requested Chidambaram for integration of regional efforts to search missing children by forming a national database for missing children and ask state nodal agencies to report to this agency.
After sympathising with Sanjay Joshi following his “forced” exit from BJP, senior Congress leader Digvijay Singh has likened Modi to demon king Ravan, asking him to shun vanity. “If you see Ravan, he had also a good track record of development, he had made (Sri) Lanka of gold. But what end he met with lot of pride and ego everybody knows,” Digvijay Singh said on a question of Modi being projected as 'Vikas Purush'. “In the same way Modiji should somewhat understand these things,” Singh told reporters at the city airport last night during a private visit.
    “He should shun pride and ego and the picture for him will get clear,” the Congress leader advised Modi.
Health minister and state government spokesman Jaynarayan Vyas hit out at the three Union ministers who criticised Gujarat citing high rate of malnutrition in women and children.
    Vyas claimed that the UPA goverment that is facing several problems such as inflation, corruption and non-performance and have therefore visited the state. He claimed Gujarat only received 3.5 per cent of the grants given by the Centre during the Eleventh Planning Commission and it has come down to 3.06 per cent in 2012. The Centre takes away Rs 14,000 per head from the state and gives back Rs 2,000 by way of grant, he said. Vyas claimed that the figures of malnutrition given by Union minister for information and broadcasting Ambika Soni were that of 2005-06 survey and the figures of 80 per cent were that of anaemia in pregnant women. On problems faced by minorities and allegations that women are not safe in Gujarat, Vyas refused to comment.