Taking a dig at the BJP government at the Centre, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, 21 March, said in Wayanad that the previous UPA government’s ambitious programmes such as the rural job guarantee scheme emerged from the people, whereas the Narendra-Modi-led dispensation’s schemes were formulated by bureaucrats.
Gandhi criticised the ‘centralised’ rule of the BJP-led government, comparing it with that of the former UPA governments.
Citing the MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) scheme, which he said had been formulated based on people’s inputs during UPA rule, he claimed that the present government’s demonetisation decision came from Modi’s mind and was implemented without consulting the people or the banking system.
Rahul Gandhi said this while interacting with the Congress-led UDF’s representatives of the local bodies in Wayanad district, at Kalpetta.
‘Panchayat participation not there’
While responding to a question from one of the participants, Rahul said, “I completely agree with you. A lot of schemes are done in a centralised manner, and they are actually not effective because panchayat participation in designing the scheme and thinking about the scheme is not there.
“If you look at the Congress party schemes, like MNREGA, and you compare them to BJP schemes, you will find that the Congress party schemes emerged from the people, from the panchayats, and the BJP schemes emerged from the bureaucracy,” the Wayanad MP claimed.
Gandhi then went on to elaborate on the launch of the MNREGA scheme, telling people how the idea emerged from a district in Maharashtra and how it was later conceptualised as a national scheme and expanded to the remaining parts of the country.
‘MGNREGA emerged from people’
“MGNREGA emerged from the people of India. People demanded work, and the government responded to that idea. And it took many years for the scheme to be developed after talking to many, many different stakeholders. It was the scheme that emerged from the people of India. It was the wisdom of the people of India that created MGNREGA”, Gandhi said.
He alleged that Modi had ridiculed MGNREGA, but was forced to expand the scheme himself when the country faced the Covid-19 crisis.
“When Covid-19 came, this same Prime Minister, who was ridiculing MNREGA, was forced to expand MNREGA…,” he said.
“When the Prime Minister came up with the idea of demonetisation, it came from his mind. He did not consult the people of India. He did not even consult the banking system,” the Congress leader said.
During his interaction with the office bearers of local bodies, Gandhi also discussed developmental issues on the ground and matters related to the buffer zone for forests, human-animal conflict, waste management issues, and concerns regarding MNREGA.
The representatives also raised issues regarding the reduction in fund allocation by both central and state governments, to which Rahul said he had been raising these issues on many occasions both with the Centre and state.
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