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Congress wakes up

The editorial in the latest issue of Organiser titled ‘A new enlightenment for Congress’ observes...

January 22, 2009 10:56:40 pm

The editorial in the latest issue of Organiser titled ‘A new enlightenment for Congress’ observes: “The Mumbai terror attack seems to have hit the UPA government like a thunderbolt and enlightened its vision. The government that used to rubbish any nationalist suggestion to ensure national security by dealing firmly with the terrorists and their domestic harbingers has suddenly woken up and started speaking a new language. Only time will tell if it is an election stunt or a genuine policy change. One thing is clear. Even if the government is serious it has no time left to execute these policies. So it seems more a poll talk than an honest resolve to combat terror on Indian soil… There are only three months left for the government to do anything concrete on this front. But most of the things now on its agenda will take years to get into the administrative mould.”

The editorial adds: “The new Home Minister P Chidambaram says his biggest ally is public opinion,when he talks of setting things right on the security front while admitting to the failure of the political system,in an interview to The Indian Express editor. ‘We should have a good national population register by 2011-12,data of every citizen,’ he says. This has been on top of the BJP agenda for almost a decade now,and any mention of this was pooh-poohed by the Congress and its allies all these years. Again,Chidambaram says,a Bangladeshi has no business to come to India unless he has a visa. This has so far been the major battle cry of the BJP plank on terror.”

The editorial concludes: “On fighting terror,dealing with Pakistan,deporting Bangladeshis and national citizens register the Congress is now talking like the BJP. This only shows the BJP has been right in highlighting these issues as part of its political manifesto and that they are immensely popular with the Indian public. It is a national demand. And by trying to appropriate them as part of the Congress lecture on terror it is trying to take political mileage on the eve of the poll. In a sense it is good that many things that the BJP was shouting from the rooftop for the last many years have now become part of the Congress pre-election road show. The Congress is good at shifting goalposts and templates. And it has no qualms about stealing slogans. A political consensus on issues of nationality is however a welcome shift.”

Linking rivers

An analysis item by Arabinda Ghose titled ‘River linking project can bring rural prosperity’ observes: “The Standing Committee on Water Resources of fourteenth Lok Sabha in its 11th report tabled in both Houses of Parliament in October,2008 referring to the report of the study by the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER),received by the Committee on April 7,2008,said that as per the Council’s assessment,(a) The ILR programme involves huge construction  activity,comparable to in scale to the Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) project,the construction activities would include dams,reservoirs and canals.”

The item says: “According to the NCAER studies on economic impact of ILR programme,it will have a major impact on the rural areas in general and the agriculture-dependent households in particular. The rural household per capita income with ILR is expected to increase 7.49 per cent as compared to the baseline growth without ILR scenario. Per capita household income of agriculture-dependent households in rural areas is expected to go up by 13.2 per cent. For non-agriculture dependent households per capita household income is expected to go up by 4.8 per cent in rural areas and 9.8 per cent in urban areas as compared to baseline scenario.”

The item goes on to add: “It was the NDA which had given a big push to the inter-linking project. On October 31,(2002) Atalji had announced the re-launch of the ILR system in the Lok Sabha which had received unanimous support,particularly from the then Leader of Opposition Smt Sonia Gandhi. The Project had also received a boost in the Supreme Court. In September 2002,senior Advocate Ranjit Kumar (amicus curiae) had filed a petition in the apex court seeking appropriate direction on the need of river networking project,quoting the President of India’s speech of August 14,2002.”

Compiled by Suman K Jha

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