Monday, February 23, 2009

So it's 'aam aadmi' again

And of course the tokenish 'terror' issue on which the Congress will seek a mandate during this election. It is rather ironic of the Congress to do so. It was the same 'aam aadmi' back in 2004 that the Congress sought to uplift. But after 5 years of economic mismanagement, minority appeasement and an utterly lax attitude towards terror, the common man continues to be in need of a 'hand' that will 'uplift' him. The 'haath' has evidently failed in it's 'saath'.
Now, with the elections only weeks away, the same stale rhetorics are being recycled. After having taken him for a 5 year ride, the common man features again in the Congress campaign. This very fact is an indication of the UPA's failure. The much ballyhooed Common Minimum Program supposedly contained a 'human face' for development. Yet it has nothing to show for its much touted flagship programs.
Speaking to party chiefs from the smallest rung of Congress
hierarchy to kick off poll campaign, Sonia said the party, which had sought the
mandate in 2004 on the concerns of "aam aadmi", had largely met its commitments,
mentioning flagship schemes like NREGA, RTI, forest rights law, social security
for unorganised sector, loan waiver and the fight against economic downturn.
Sonia even got the President to claim so in the Parliament. It is rather self congratulatory of them to have done so. Other than Manmohan Singh and herself hardly anyone else holds such a view. In fact the Government's own auditor, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India is critical of all such claims.
Punching a hole in the UPA government's campaign of Bharat
Nirman and other flagship schemes, its official auditor, the Comptroller and
Auditor General (CAG) said in a report released on Friday that the government
had been overstating the expenditure. [Link]
The NREGA has failed to reach the intended and is marred by corruption. The loan waiver too has failed to help the poorest and the most affected farmers. And the general economic mismanagement by the UPA has affected everyone.
The government started the 'Bharat Nirman' project to improve infrastructure, however results are lacking. The CAG notes, of the Rs. 51,000 crores allocated by the government for development during 2007-08, the actual expenditure cannot be confirmed.
Raising an alarm, the CAG said money often remained unspent
in the accounts of these implementing agencies. Kept outside government
accounts, they were beyond the purview of any checks and balances of the Centre.
``The aggregate amount of the unspent balances in the accounts of the
implementing agencies kept outside government accounts is not readily
ascertainable. The government expenditure as reflected in the accounts to that
extent is, therefore, overstated,'' the CAG report said. [Link]
Funds were also diverted from their original purposes to various NGOs, cultural organisations and trumpet blowing celebrations.
The government had transferred Rs 6,500
crore in 2007 and Rs 6,000 crore in 2008 to the SIDF. An examination of Rs 3,500
crore expenditure under this account by the CAG revealed that at least Rs 1,500
crore in 2006-07 and a similar amount the following year was diverted to
celebrations and giving aid to NGOs and other expenditure rather than creating
Pointing out how the government had been
diverting funds intended to provide subsidies to the rural “aam aadmi'', the CAG
report said of the Rs 20,000 crore collected under the Universal Service
Obligation Fund between 2003-08 towards subsidising rural telephony, only Rs
6,000 crore was spent; the remaining amount was not there in the fund.
The Congress hasn't abandoned it's corrupt ways. Embezzlement has been the hallmark of it's governance.
The NDA regime reformed the telecom sector and abolished licensing. The UPA rolled it back so its partners could make crores. The national road network saw a upgrade being undertaken by the NDA with a success rate of about 81%, the progress has fallen to less than 50 at 49% under the UPA. And in the last two years there have been 5 different NHAI chairmen. Other projects like housing, electricity connections for the poor too have met the same dismal fate. And Sonia Gandhi has the gall to seek votes from the 'aam aadmi'.

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