Gujarat Drama

June 18, 2008

1. PM and Fm make referenced to take credit for Gujarat’s development saying that a lot of funds have been given to Gujarat. – in some speech.

2. Modi reacts saying only a meagre 5% of the tax paid by Gujarat’s people is given as funds from the centre and says that they are relying on falsehoods. He goes one more step ahead and says that the centre is more dependent on the state’s taxpayers. – in some rally

3. Issue blown over – The congress says that the data is not true as there was no data of taxes paid by states and calls for modi to be tried for treason (probably inspired by similar such calls from Nawaz Sharif recently), and says that Modi is questioning the very existance of the nation. They question the nationalism of the nationalist leader.

4. Modi asks them to go ahead with the absolutely ridiculous idea of the treason trial.

5. Congress says that Modi does not know the facts and produces facts to show that the Congress govt. did indeed give more funds to gujarat in their time than the NDA govt. did. The figures compare NDA contribution in 2002-03 and theirs in the last year showing about 25% increase over 4 years. This when the growth of Gujarat has been about 10% every year then. Also congress refutes the claim that the aid given to Gujarat is paltry, by discovering the amount taxes paid by the state to centre. One does not even know which taxes have been considered.

This is one of the better dramas unfolding in the recent past, the strong dialogues by Congress “leaders” (read sycophants like Manish Tiwari) like “trial for treason” have been interesting indeed. The congress have really given a good drama for a long time, its time they bowed out.

As for Modi, he should try and make sure he is quoted right and in correct context (he was only speaking at a rally). And he has a point, the state people work hard to produce some results in their neighbourhood. People work hard hoping that roads and infrastructure in their part of the world would improve and if any funds are going to the centre to put into sachar committees and to institute fudging experts and contract killers to maintain the sanctity of flagship pogroms oops sorry programs like NREGA.

The simple speech of Modi can shake the congress so much to call treason is testimony to the stature of Modi.

Advertisements

Recently, two people were killed in isolated independent incidents, both very alarming and revealing of an underlying untruth.

  • Mr. Lalit Mehta, an activist of Vikas Sahyog Kendra, was trying to organise social audits to help the NREGA function better.
We are deeply disturbed by the recent murder of Lalit Kumar Mehta, member of Vikas Sahyog Kendra (Palamau District), who was brutally killed on 14 May 2008 as he was returning from Daltonganj to Chhattarpur on a motorcycle.
The circumstances of this murder are disturbing. Lalit (aged 36), an active member of the right to food campaign and Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, has been working in this area for more than 15 years on issues related to the right to food and the right to work. He was a very gentle person and his work was widely appreciated. However he was also fearless in exposing corruption and exploitation, and often came in the way of vested interests.
At the time of this incident, Lalit was helping a team of volunteers from Delhi and elsewhere to conduct a social audit of NREGA works in Chainpur and Chhattarpur Blocks of Palamau District. Attempts had already been made to dissuade the team from conducting this investigation, particularly in Chainpur Block. Is it a coincidence that Lalit was murdered just one day after the investigation began?
If this murder was an act of intimidation, it did not succeed. Friends and supporters from all over Jharkhand gathered at Vikas Sahyog Kendra on 17 May. They unanimously resolved to continue the campaign against corruption and exploitation in this area. [link]
  • Mr. Kameshwar Yadav tried to use RTI to get the NREGA details, he was another activist who wanted to verify the system to help it work better.

Giridih, June 8: In a rerun of the Lalit Mehta murder case, Kameshwar Yadav, an NREGA activist, was killed by unidentified gunmen near Gaadi village about nine last night.

Kameshwar was returning to his Khatori residence — about 75km from here — after taking part in a CPI-ML bandh over the fuel price rise in block headquarters Deori.

Rajkumar Yadav, a CPI-ML state committee member, said being a morally upright person, Kameshwar had questioned — under the Right to Information Act — the nexus flourishing among officers, leaders, contractors and middlemen regarding minor irrigation work in Deori.

Kameshwar was also a block committee member of the party. CPI-ML leaders, including MLA Vinod Singh, blocked the Jamua-Koderma road for around six hours today demanding the arrest of criminals. Giridih SP Murari Lal Meena said that the killers would be arrested within June 13. [link]

NREGA is a wonderful scheme, it is aimed at guaranteeing the constitutional right to work to rural people by providing employment to one person from each household in rural areas. It is a flagship of the congress government and was flouted very proudly at the congress 4 year anniversary. But there are many skeletons in the closet. Mr. Mihir Shah writes about the discrepancies in implementation.

But even after the enactment of NREGA, things have been slow to change at the grass-roots. Displaying remarkable ingenuity, the old order is already finding ways to sidestep the radical provisions of the Act. Contractors deploy machines with impunity, even as forged muster rolls are filled up with fictitious names and thumb-marks of workers, to show as if the work was done by labour. This is especially the case in States like Jharkhand, which still do not have elected Gram Panchayats. [link]

Even Mr. Shourie in his article has raised some objections about how ‘right’ data is filled after initial data is pencilled in so that the performance of the flagship program of Congress remains grande.

After citing what the PM, FM, etc. have been saying about ensuring outcomes and not being lulled by outlays, Saxena asks, and ‘How is outcome delivered in the states?’, and answers, ‘By falsifying records!’ He cites the tour observations of a person in a position to know, and unlikely to state things that would embarrass the Government:

‘We discovered that all data of children at the centre for the past five months, weight, vaccinations, health records etc, were filled in with pencils. On probing further, I found it was done so that in case of an official inspection, the figures could be erased and “correct” data inserted to make the centre’s performance look good!’

The writer? The Congress MP, Sachin Pilot. Recalling such accounts, Saxena observes, ‘The practice is so widely prevalent in all the states, presumably with the connivance of senior officers, that the data reaching GOI [according to a recent study by the National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development] shows only 8% as the overall percentage of malnourished children in case of 0-3 years (with only one percent children severely malnourished), as against 46% reported by NFHS-3.

What is equally astonishing is the fact that records show a steep decline in the percentage of malnourished children from 29% to 8%, which is totally at variance with the findings of the various NFHS surveys. By sending bogus reports the field officials are thus able to escape from any sense of accountability for reducing malnutrition.’ [link]

Someone had felt constrained to exclaim at the state of affairs to describe it as ‘Loot for work program’, and after these killings, it is tending towards a ‘kill for work program’!

Lalit was killed on the 14th May, and the congress celebrated its four years on the 23rd May, touting NREGA as their proud achievement. Either the congress is cheeky enough to take us voters lightly or it is sure it wont return to power. Either way, we’ll show them.