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Saturday, January 4, 2014

PM Dr. Manmohan Singh lauds Rahul Gandhi

Rahul Gandhi has outstanding credentials to be nominated as PM: Manmohan Singh

“Rahul Gandhi has outstanding credentials to be nominated as Prime Minister. I am sure, Congress party will take a decision at an appropriate time” said Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh while addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Friday. He was replying to a question whether the Congress Vice President would be declared as party’s PM candidate.
In his opening remarks he highlighted the achievements of the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and also ruled out a third term for him as Prime Minister after the 2014 general elections. “I will hand the baton over to a new prime minister. I hope it will be a UPA chosen prime minister and our party will work to that end," said the Prime Minister.  “I do not believe I am a weak prime minister. It is for historians to judge. The BJP and its associates may say whatever they like. If by strong prime minister you mean you preside over mass massacre of innocent citizens on the streets of Ahmedabad, if that is the measure of strength, I do not believe that that this country needs that kind of strength” said Dr. Singh to a query.
Digging at the opposition, Dr. Singh continued, “"Opposition has vested interests. Sometimes the media plays into their hands. When history is written we (UPA Govt) will come out unscathed. This is not to say that there are no irregularities. But the dimensions of the problem have been overstated by the media, by CAG sometimes and other entities."
“When I became PM the perception was that Congress couldn't run a coalition govt. We showed Congress can successfully manage a coalition” he added. To another question, the PM said, “The views of the Congress president (Sonia Gandhi) or vice president (Rahul Gandhi) should be reflected in the govt as far as possible, it is not a disadvantage”
“Mrs Sonia Gandhi's support has been enormous; especially in dealing with complex issues” said Manmohan Singh adding “I sincerely believe that the arrangement where the Congress President and PM are not the same person has worked exceedingly well.”
These are the highlights of the record of the Congress-led UPA government, titled "10 years of progress and growth", cited by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in his address to the media on Friday and which was released by the Prime Minister's Office ahead of the press conference:
* Education - India has achieved "near universal education" at the primary school level due to Right to Education and the dropout rates have also decreased. The outlay for education has been constantly increased. Central universities increased from 17 to 44 during 2004-13.
*Farmer welfare - Minimum support prices (MSP) for wheat and paddy has been doubled since 2004, while MSP for other grains have increased three fold. More than 650 lakh farmers were financed by the banking system during 2012-13. The new Land Acquisition Act will provide livelihood rehabilitation and financial benefits for the affected people.
*Food security- There has been a three-fold increase in food subsidy during UPA tenure. The Food Security Act will entitle 35 kg of food-grains per month and other families for 5 kg per person at subsidised rates.
*Rural employment- The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is the largest welfare scheme of its kind in the world started in 2006. Wages given under the scheme per day have almost doubled from Rs.65 to Rs. 128 since the launch of the scheme. In 2012-13, the scheme provided employment to over 4.98 crore households, generating more than 213 crore person-days of employment.
*Healthcare- Consistent investment in public healthcare showed reduction in infant and maternal mortality rates, while life expectancy has improved. Absence of new endemic polio case for the last three years.
*Social security for special sections - There has been ten-fold increase in the expenditure on minorities since 2004-04.
*Economic growth - Per capita income in India has grown three fold since UPA came to power. The average GDP growth during the period of UPA government has been 7.7 percent despite two global slowdowns.
*Infrastructure - More than 2 lakh km of new roads have been added to the rural road network. Allocation for PradhanMantri Gram Sadak Yojana has increased by 88 percent in the 12 th Five Year Plan.
*Poverty reduction - Average decline in poverty was two percent per annum.
*Direct benefit transfer and Aadhaar card- The UID has issued more than 51 crore Aadhaar cards giving people access to direct benefit transfer in 184 districts.
*Development of North-east : Internal security has improved and the growth rate in north-eastern region is now higher than national average. Northeast growth rate is 9.9 percent compared to national average 7.4 percent.
*Governance and transparency - Right to information, second administrative reforms commission, and e-governance ensured transparency. Among the anti-corruption measures, the government was able to bring the Lokpal Act, as also the Whistle Blowers Protection Bill, Grievance Redressal Bill, and Amendment to Prevention of Corruption Act.
*Security of women and children - The law has been amended to provide stringent punishment for sexual offences against women and children. The government has also passed the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. TheWomen Reservation bill has been passed by the Rajya Sabha.

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