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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Sonia Gandhi’s Interventions were instrumental for key bills introduced by the Centre

The information gathered through the Right to Information Act confirms that regular interventions by Sonia Gandhi were instrumental for some of the key legislations introduced by the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre. For instance, on January 14, 2011, Sonia Gandhi wrote to the Prime Minister, pointing out that domestic workers were not included in the Protection of Women against Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, 2010, a legislation that NAC had been examining. "Domestic work is under-valued and poorly regulated and the workers are often underpaid and ill-treated. Their workplace being the confines of private homes, domestic workers, especially live-in workers, are prone to sexual harassment and abuse," wrote the Congress President. "This being so, exclusion of domestic workers from the purview of the Bill enhances their vulnerability," added Sonia Gandhi. The final draft of the Bill, passed by the Cabinet in May 2012, duly includes her recommendation on domestic workers.
Sonia Gandhi continues to give firm but polite directives to the government. On August 20, 2010, the UPA chairperson wrote to the then law minister M Veerappa Moily, asking him to coordinate with the Ministry of Women and Child Development for an effective legislation to address sexual offences against children. "In the above context, the Ministry of Law and Justice may work in coordination with the Ministry of Women and Child Development to enable the finalisation of such a draft legislation, so that it can be brought to Parliament expeditiously," says the letter by Sonia Gandhi.
She wrote another letter to the then Home Minister P Chidambaram on January 18, 2011, on the issue of Jarawa tribes of Andaman and Nicobar islands. Raising concern over local tourism operations and the highway passing through the Jarawa reserve, Sonia Gandhi emphasised, "The Ministry of Home Affairs may coordinate with them (Tribal Affairs Ministry) so that all issues related to the Jarawa tribe are comprehensively addressed."
On October 27, 2010 Sonia Gandhi wrote to the prime minister saying, "As NAC firms up the draft Bill, it might be useful for the government to consider preparation for a timely and successful national roll-out of this ambitious Act."
The Congress President also suggested Dr. Singh on November 10, 2010, to consider the rural development ministry's proposal to involve the Registrar General and Census Commissioner to conduct socio-economic survey to gauge the number of below poverty line families. "May I suggest that the proposal mooted by MoRD be examined in your office," she wrote. Within seven months, the proposal was examined by the Prime Minister's office and got the Cabinet's approval on June 19, 2011.
The above mentioned facts prove beyond doubt that Sonia Gandhi played an important role in making many of the land mark policies by the UPA Government at the Centre. We can see the touch of Sonia Gandhi in National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Right to Information Act, Mid-day meal scheme for the school children, Sarva Siksha Abhiyan, Anti Communalism Bill and Food security Bill. Sonia Gandhi is also keen to get the Women Reservation Bill implemented.
Pt. Nehru dreamt a progressive Nation, Indira Gandhi took his dream forward, Rajiv Gandhi put the country among the top nations in the world and now Sonia Gandhi has been contributing high to make a strong and self reliant India.

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