16 Oct : Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday charged that Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in Bihar has failed to fully implement Centrally-sponsored schemes but is taking credit for them.
The Bihar government had failed to implement the Mahatama Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), besides the special scheme for minorities in the state, Singh told an election meeting in Araria district.
“We have repeatedly tried to speed up the pace of progress in Bihar in providing basic needs like electricity, roads and good irrigation facilities. We started giving a special annual package of Rs 1000 crore”.
“… since 2004, till now, the Centre has given Rs 6000 crore and for 36 districts the Centre is giving special assistance. These funds could have changed the face of the state… power, roads, education could have been given to the needy but the government has not fulfilled its duties”.
He said there were instances where the Central assistance did reach the needy districts and people, but, in such cases “the state government misled people by claiming that the schemes were initiated by them.”
“It is unfortunate to know that the state government is taking credit for the schemes of the Central government and their benefits are not reaching those intended,” Singh told the meeting at Araria district.
Holding the past RJD governments and the current one of Nitish Kumar responsible for Bihar’s plight, the Prime Minister said the Congress led by Sonia Gandhi alone could ensure all-round growth of the state.
Holding that the Centre had fully cooperated with Bihar, the Prime Minister said the state still lagged behind.
“Araria district has been covered among 90 other districts in the country under the special scheme for minorities launched by the Centre, but it is unfortunate that no tangible step has been taken in this direction,” he said.
Singh expressed unhappiness that in Araria district around 50 percent of the people were still living below the poverty line even after 63 years of independence.
Araria, he pointed out, lacked schools, drinking water and was also wanting in the health sector.
The Congress was irrevocably committed for ensuring the socio-economic uplift of minorities, scheduled castes, farmers and other sections of the society, he said.
“Congress is a party which thinks for the common people, weaker sections and involved in uprooting poverty, unemployment and hunger.”
“You have seen successive governments during the past 20 years, please give the Congress a chance which alone under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi will ensure all-round growth,” he said.
Singh also spoke at length on several Central schemes, including the Right to Education and Right to Information Acts.
Noting that the UPA government had evolved special programmes for the socio-economic uplift of minorities, he said over 8 lakh students from the community were benefited.