Thursday, August 18, 2011

PM's Independence Day Speech, 2011

My dear countrymen,
I heartily greet 120 crore Indians on the 64th anniversary of our independence.
I have been addressing you from the historic Red Fort for the last seven years. In these seven years, our country has achieved much. During this period, we have travelled rapidly on the path of development and have seen success in many areas. However, I am also well aware that a lot remains to be done. We have to banish poverty and illiteracy from our country. We have to provide the common man with access to improved health services. We have to provide employment opportunities to each one of our youth.
The road ahead is long and arduous. Particularly, the prevailing situation both inside and outside the country is such that if we do not act with understanding and restraint, our security and prosperity can get adversely affected. The world economy is slowing down. The developed countries especially America and countries of Western Europe are facing economic problems. There is unrest in many Arab countries of the Middle East. There are some people who want to create disturbances in the country so that our progress gets stalled. All this can have a negative impact on us. But we will not let this happen. I know that if we work together, we can face any challenge. However, it is necessary that we rise above personal or political interests and build consensus on issues of vital national importance.
Brothers and sisters,
We are building the edifice of modern India on the foundation of the hard work and sacrifices of our soldiers, our farmers and our workers. We will not let their hard work and sacrifices go waste. We will convert the dreams of our freedom fighters into reality.
Brothers and sisters,
In the last seven years, our government has strived for political stability and social and economic progress. We have established an environment of communal harmony in the country.
In these seven years, the pace of our economic development has been rapid. We have achieved this success despite the global economic slow-down of 2008 and rising prices of energy and commodities in world markets.
We have strived for reducing inequalities in the country. In the last seven years, we have taken special care of the needs of our brothers and sisters from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, minorities, women and children.
We have enacted laws which would guarantee our people their basic entitlements. After the rights to education, employment and information, we will soon enact a legislation for providing food security to the people.
In the last seven years, our relations with various countries of the world have strengthened and deepened. It is only the result of our hard work that today we have much more self respect and self-confidence in ourselves.
Brothers and sisters,
These successes are not ordinary. Today the world recognizes our potential to be one of the major economic powers globally. But the problem of corruption is a big obstacle in such a transformation.
In the last few months many instances of corruption have come to light. In some cases, functionaries of the Central government face allegations of corruption. In other cases, it is the functionaries of various State governments.
We are taking the strictest possible action in cases of corruption that have surfaced. These cases are sub-judice and hence I will say nothing more on this subject.
It is essential that when we consider these issues, we do not create an atmosphere in which the country's progress comes into question. Any debate on these matters should reflect the confidence that we can overcome these challenges.
Corruption manifests itself in many forms. In some instances, funds meant for schemes for the welfare of the common man end up in the pocket of government officials. In some other instances government discretion is used to favour a selected few. There are also cases where government contracts are wrongfully awarded to the wrong people. We cannot let such activities continue unchecked.
I believe that there is no single big step which we can take to eradicate corruption. In fact, we will have to act simultaneously on many fronts.
We will have to improve our justice delivery system. Everyone should know that quick action will be taken against the corrupt and punishment meted out to them. If our system delivers justice in an effective manner, government officials would think twice before committing a wrong act out of greed or under political pressure.
We want a strong Lokpal to prevent corruption in high places. We have recently introduced a Bill in Parliament to achieve this. Now only Parliament can decide what type of Lokpal legislation should be enacted. I am aware of the differences of opinion on some aspects of the Bill. Those who don't agree with this Bill can put forward their views to Parliament, political parties and even the press. However, I also believe that they should not resort to hunger strikes and fasts unto death.
It is not appropriate to bring the judiciary under the ambit of Lokpal. We believe that any such provision would go against the independence of the judiciary. However, we do need a framework in which the judiciary becomes more accountable. It is with this aim that we have introduced the Judicial Accountability Bill in Parliament. I am confident that this Bill will be passed soon.
An alert press and an aware citizenry can be very helpful in the fight against corruption. The Indian press is known for its independence and activism throughout the world. The Right to Information legislation that we have enacted has enabled our press and people to keep a strict watch on the work of the government.
Today many government decisions, which in the absence of this Act would escape public scrutiny, are coming to light. I believe that this is a big step forward in eradicating corruption.
Brothers and Sisters,
Many times, government discretion is misused in allocation of scarce resources and in the grant of clearances. We have examined this issue. We will put an end to such discretionary powers wherever possible.
Any government awards contracts worth thousands of crores every year. There are frequent complaints of corruption in these decisions. We had constituted a committee to suggest measures to reduce corruption in government purchases. The committee has recommended that, like many other countries, we should also have a public procurement legislation which lays down the principles and practice with regard to government purchases. We will introduce a Bill in Parliament by the end of this year to enact such a law.
In recent years, we have established independent regulatory authorities in many areas. These authorities discharge many responsibilities which were earlier in the domain of the government itself. We have no legislation which would enable monitoring of the work of these regulatory authorities and make them more accountable, without, however, compromising their independence. We are also considering enactment of such a law.
Brothers and sisters,
I have said so much on corruption because I know that this problem is a matter of deep concern for all of us. However, this is a difficulty for which no government has a magic wand. We are taking simultaneous action on many fronts in our fight against corruption. We want all political parties to stand shoulder to shoulder with us in this fight. To eradicate corruption, we have introduced, and will introduce, many Bills in Parliament. I hope that all political parties will cooperate in the process of converting these Bills into statutes. On the issue of corruption, I would like to say in the end that we can win the fight against corruption only when each and every citizen of India cooperates in it.
Brothers and sisters,
I congratulate the country's farmers for their achievements this year. The production of foodgrains has been at a record level. Wheat, maize, pulses and oilseeds have all seen record levels of production. It is because of the hard work of our farmers that today there are proposals for export of foodgrains, sugar and cotton.
We need a second Green Revolution in agriculture. We can tackle the problem of rising food prices only by increasing agricultural production and productivity. We also need to increase agricultural production to implement a food security law. We will accelerate our efforts in this direction in the 12th Plan.
Today, I wish to assure our farmer brothers and sisters, particularly those who are small and marginal, that we will continue to take care of their special needs. It will be our endeavour to ensure that our farmers have easy access to fertilizers, seeds and credit. We also want to provide the best possible irrigation facilities to the farmers so that their dependence on rains is reduced.
Brothers and sisters,
Our country is passing through a phase of sustained high inflation. Controlling rising prices is a primary responsibility of any government. Our government fully understands this responsibility. We have continuously taken steps to rein in prices. Some time we have been confronted with a situation in which the reasons for rising prices lay outside the country. The prices of petroleum products, foodgrains and edible oil have risen steeply in international markets in recent times. Since we import these products in large quantities, any rise in their prices adds to inflationary pressure in our country. Sometimes we have been successful too in controlling inflation. But this success has not proved lasting. A few days back, the people's concern at rising prices was also reflected in a discussion in Parliament. I wish to assure you today that we are continuously monitoring the situation to find out what new steps can be taken to arrest rising prices. Finding a solution to this problem will be our top-most priority in the coming months.
Brothers and sisters,
I am fully aware of the tensions caused in some parts of the country because of acquisition of land for industry, infrastructure and urbanization. Our farmers have been especially affected by such acquisition. Land acquisition is no doubt necessary for projects of public interest. But it should take place in a transparent and fair manner. The interests of those whose livelihoods are dependent on the land being acquired should be fully protected. We will ensure that no injustice is done to anyone in the process of land acquisition. Our government wants to replace the 117 year old land acquisition law by a new Land Acquisition and Rehabilitation law which is forward looking and balanced. We have already prepared a draft legislation and have initiated steps to build consensus on it. We will soon introduce a Bill in Parliament to this end.
Brothers and sisters,
We are satisfied with our achievements in the last seven years in the areas of education and health. Whether it is elementary education, secondary education or higher education we have taken concrete steps for improvements at all levels. This has shown good results. In the last few years, fundamental changes have taken place in the area of education. Today every citizen has a right to elementary education. We are now considering universalization of secondary education. Vocational education and skill development have acquired a new importance. In view of these major changes, it is necessary that we consider all aspects of education in a comprehensive manner. Therefore we have decided to appoint an education commission to make recommendations for improvements at all levels of education.
I have often referred to the 11th Five Year Plan as an education plan. We will lay the same emphasis on health in the 12th plan as we laid on education in the 11th plan. I will propose to the National Development Council that the 12th plan should be specially focused on health. I also promise that funds will not be a constraint in the important areas of education and health.
For a long time our country had no facility for health insurance for workers in the unorganized sector. In 2008, we began the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana for workers in the unorganized sector who are below the poverty line. In the last year we have covered those getting employment under Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Act and also domestic workers, street vendors and beedi workers under this scheme. Today the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana covers about 2 crore 50 lakh workers. Our government will endeavour to cover as many unorganized sector workers as possible under this scheme.
Brothers and sisters,
We are continuously strengthening the physical infrastructure in our country. This is an area which requires very large investments. It is for this reason that in the last seven years we have pursued policies which encourage investment in infrastructure. As a percentage of GDP, investment in this area has grown more than one and a half times in the last seven years. There have been improvements in our capacities in the petroleum sector and power generation, and in our airports, roads, especially rural road, and ports. As an illustration, the capacity in power generation that we are going to add in the 11th plan will be twice that of the 10th plan. In the 12th Plan, we will further accelerate investment in infrastructure. We will pay special attention to the remote areas of our country and to rural areas. Connecting such areas by rail and road will get the top most priority.
Brothers and sisters,
We have taken a major step this year for our poor brothers and sisters living in cities. Recently we have approved the Rajiv Awas Yojana. We want to make India slum free through this scheme. We want the slum dwellers to get ownership of clean houses and have access to basic amenities like water and electricity. We will implement the Rajiv Awas Yojana as a national mission together with the States.
Brothers and sisters,
Malnutrition in our women and children is a matter of concern for all of us. We have taken a number of steps to tackle this problem, including two new schemes. We have also decided that we will start implementing an improved Integrated Child Development Services scheme within the next six months so that the problem of malnutrition in children can be effectively addressed.
The figures of census 2011 show improvements in most areas. But it is a matter of deep regret for us that the sex ratio has shown a decline from the level of the last census. For an improvement in this state of affairs, it is not only necessary to implement the existing laws effectively but it is also essential to change the approach with which our society views girls and women. I would especially appeal to the State governments and social service organizations to take steps for empowerment of women and for improving their status in society.
Brothers and sisters,
Last month's terrorists attacks in Mumbai warn us that there cannot be any slip up in our vigilance as far as the fight against terrorism is concerned. This is a long battle to be fought jointly by the Central Government, the State Governments and the common man. We have been steadily strengthening our intelligence and security agencies and will continue to do so in the future also.
We are also taking all possible steps to overcome the challenge of naxalism. We want to eradicate the very reasons which give rise to this problem. Therefore we have started a new scheme for the accelerated development of 60 backward and tribal dominated districts. An amount of Rs. 3300 crore will be spent on this scheme in a period of two years.
Brothers and sisters,
Preserving our environment even as we develop rapidly is a huge challenge for us. Climate change poses a threat to both our development processes and our natural resources. We have established eight missions on climate change and are working hard to implement these missions. We have set up the National Ganga River Basin Authority for the protection and cleaning of river Ganga. We have also established the National Green Tribunal for quick disposal of cases involving environmental issues. In the coming months, we will constitute an environmental assessment and monitoring authority to streamline the process of environmental clearances.
Brothers and sisters,
Our society and country are changing rapidly because of our fast economic growth. Today our people look towards the future with new hope. They have higher aspirations. Our young men and women strive for path breaking achievements. We should all build an environment in the country in which the energy and enthusiasm of the people are channelised into activities of nation building. Our institutions should encourage constructive utilization of the potential of our people. Our entrepreneurs and businessmen should not feel constrained in their activities. Our industrialists should have the opportunity to set up new industries so that our youth can get additional avenues for productive employment. We should all stay away from politics that create suspicion or apprehension amongst those connected with industry, business and investment.
Brothers and sisters,
It is not an ordinary achievement for our democracy with a population of 120 crore and so many religions, languages and cultures to march rapidly ahead on the path of development. I congratulate the people of India on this achievement. But we must ensure that inequalities do not increase even as we develop rapidly.
We have embarked on a journey to transform our huge and diverse country through rapid development. A development which benefits every citizen of the country. It is natural that tensions would sometimes arise in this process of change. In a democracy, such tensions also become issues of political polarization. We should endeavour that even as political parties oppose and engage in debate against each other, the pace of our progress does not get affected.
We should also have faith that our democracy, our institutions and our social ideals and values have the capacity to deal with any difficulty. We should all have faith in ourselves. The faith that we can build a promising future for ourselves. The faith, that united we can do the most difficult of tasks. Let us all resolve to build a bright future for our country.
Dear Children, join me in saying
Jai Hind
Jai Hind
Jai Hind.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Politics in UP more about caste, less about development, says Rahul

Continuing his political campaign through Uttar Pradesh's hinterland, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi on Friday called on the youth of the state to unite to "topple the state government", citing the example of farmers in Bhatta-Parsaul who "fought for their rights" and won. .

"It was not 50,000 farmers. Merely 100-200 farmers fought for their rights in Bhatta-Parsaul and Tappal, and they changed the national land acquisition policy. Similarly, you all need to get united and fight for your rights. It would be only then your state will witness progress and development," Gandhi told a gathering of Youth Congress activists in Ballia, some 300 km from Lucknow.

"If only 5-10 youth inside this room join hands, they can achieve big targets, and can even topple the state government," he added.

Expressing concern over the "poor development" of Uttar Pradesh, Gandhi said, "Despite representing the most populous state, you are lagging behind.There is no one to look after you."

"The onus is on the people of Uttar Pradesh, particularly youth, who should start looking after themselves and the state. Irrespective of their caste and creed, youths need to come forward if they want to see all-round development of the state," Gandhi said.

"States like Maharashtra, Punjab and Haryana are ahead of Uttar Pradesh. Schools and colleges are being set up in such states, but where will the children of the poor people of Uttar Pradesh go?...What will happen to the poor people of the state?...Until the youths do not think about the state, Uttar Pradesh will continue to lag behind," he added.

Hitting out at the Mayawati-led government over the "lawlessness" in the state, Gandhi said, "It's surprising and shocking that chief medical Officers (CMOs) are being killed. People are being eliminated inside the jail.It's happening just because the youth of Uttar Pradesh are still to get united for fighting for their rights and development of the state."

Earlier in the day, Gandhi interacted with the weavers community in Azamgarh, some 300 km from Lucknow, to know about their problems, the party said.

Assuring the weavers all possible help, Gandhi invited their delegation to Delhi to give suggestions for improving their living conditions, Congress spokesperson Akhilesh Pratap Singh told reporters in Azamgarh.

"Rahul Gandhi gave the invitation while holding a `chaupal' (informal meeting) of weavers in the Neweda village. He will now arrange a meeting of weavers with those involved in finalising the draft of the Rs3,000 crore special package earmarked for the weavers in the last union budget," Akhilesh Pratap Singh said.

The informal meeting continued for over an hour, he added.

Gandhi reached Azamgarh on an unscheduled visit while he was on his way to Ballia to address Youth Congress activists. Gandhi Thursday started his two-day tour to eastern Uttar Pradesh to promote the Youth Congress membership drive as part of a sustained campaign to swing the political fortunes of the party in India's most politically consequential state.

On second day of his visit to Eastern UP, AICC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi again criticised the state government for “misappropriation” of Central funds and political parties in the state for promoting caste politics in the past two decades.

Friday, July 22, 2011

The youth of UP should stand up and question the government

"It is an open fact that there have been irregularities.

If such a thing would have happened in Maharashtra or Delhi or Haryana or Punjab, the government there would have resigned the same day," he said.

"The Centre provides funds worth thousands of crores of rupees for medical facilities to the rural poor under NRHM but the money has been misused by the state government," he alleged, accusing the BSP government of overlooking the rights of farmers and rural people.

Gandhi also lashed out at the UP government for carrying out forced land acquisition. "There have been financial irregularities in Noida where land of the poor has been acquired and given to builders for the Yamuna Expressway. Why is this happening?" he posed.

 He said this was because the youth of the state were not standing up and questioning the government."It is the youth's responsibility," Gandhi pointed out, asking young Congress workers to revive the party and in the process rid the state of Mayawati's "misrule".

With Congress trying to regain its lost moorings in the state, he said the youth leaders must expose the "anti-people and anti-farmer policies" of the BSP government and fan out among the masses to propagate the Centre's people-oriented policies and programmes.

He was addressing the party's youth brigade at Syed Modi stadium here. "Work at grass root level and be sensitive towards the problems of common man," was Gandhi's refrain during his interaction with the Youth Congress workers here and later in Mau district.

After his Kisan Sandesh Yatra in western UP earlier this month where he undertook foot march from villages in Gautam Buddha Nagar to Aligarh, this is his second mass contact programme in the state.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

In Orissa, I had fought for the rights of tribals in Niyamgiri and I am happy we won the battle

Rahul Gandhi accused the Naveen government of siphoning of funds meant for Centrally sponsored schemes under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and mid-day programme of Sarva Sikshya Abhiyaan (SSA). The benefits have not reached the beneficiaries under these schemes in the state, he said and referred to the CBI probe into MGNREGA irregularities in six districts and dal scam to make his point in this regard.

Stating that Orissa is not a poor state as it is endowed with huge mineral resources like iron ore and bauxite, Gandhi said, people of the state are poor as they have not benefited from the mining activities. Minerals are directly exported, which is wrong, he observed.

Comparing the land acquisition problems of the Posco project in Orissa with Bhatta-Parsaul in the UP, Gandhi said, he is not against any development or project if the rights of poor people hit by the project are protected. “We do not have problem with any project. But there is problem with the end issue, compensation and rehabilitation of tribal and poor people. The poor should get benefit of the project, the locals should get employment and tribals should be comfortably rehabilitated”. He said, his party has prepared 30-point agenda for the Posco project and if these are complied, there will be no problem in implementation of the project.

Referring to his just concluded padayatra in Uttar Pradesh following allegation of forcible land acquisition there, he said, the new land acquisition bill, which will be tabled in the Parliament will benefit the poor and backward people who have a stake in the development. “In Orissa, I had fought for the rights of tribals in Niyamgiri and I am happy we won the battle”.

Addressing the media earlier in the day, Gandhi had described the state government as corrupt, but added the problem was more with implementation. He, however, said, the level of corruption here is not at par with the Uttar Pradesh government, which is the most corrupt state in the country.

Giving instances of Congress-ruled states, Gandhi pointed out that poor people in Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana and Andhra Pradesh were getting direct benefits from the developmental programmes while they were denied such facilities in state like Orissa. "MGNREGA, MDM and other schemes are working in full swing in Andhra Pradesh while CBI is probing rural job scam in Orissa," he said asking people to oust the "corrupt" BJD government in order to help the poor to come out of poverty. UPA governemnt was planning to bring Right to Food Bill, Rahul Gandhi said and wondered if it could be properly implemented in Orissa. "I fear whether the Orissa government can implement the food rights perfectly," he said. Dubbing the ruling BJD as a government for rich people', Rahul Gandhi asked the gathering to spread the Congress message in villages in order to oust the state government for a better tomorrow. Earlier in the day Gandhi participated in two youth interaction programmes at Khurda and Bhadrak where he asked young men and women to join Youth Congress to change the fate of the state. "Congress means development of poor, tribals, dalits, backward and minorities," Gandhi said.

What we are against is the pushing aside of poor people because they are poor. If the tribals are pushed aside, we have a problem with that

A day after serial blasts rocked Mumbai, Rahul Gandhi on Thursday ruled out complete eradication of terror attacks in the country but said the UPA government had been successful in controlling such violence to a large extent.

"It is very difficult to stop every single terror attack in the country. Terrorism is something that is impossible to stop all the time. But 99 per cent of terror attacks had been stopped due to strong vigilance and intelligence efforts," the Congress general secretary told the media on the second day of his visit to Orissa.

Rahul added that the UPA government had "promptly" responded to the return of terror attacks in India's financial capital. "The government's response was prompt. The Union home minister is leading the response. We are responding to the violence in a quite organized fashion," said Rahul, who was on a two-day tour of Orissa to urge youths to join the Congress.

The Congress leader, however, stressed on the need for initiating all-out efforts for total elimination of terrorism in the country. He said, "99 per cent of terror attacks have been stopped. We have improved by leaps and bounds. But we have to work and defeat 100 per cent of attacks. The idea is to fight terrorism at the local level." He also conveyed his condolences to all the families affected by Wednesday's explosions which has left 18 persons dead and 131 injured.

Reminded that there was no terror attack in the US after the 9/11 strike whereas India often faced the menace, Rahul said, "The US forces are facing terrorist attacks in Afghanistan."

The Gandhi scion also said the Prime Minister should not be brought under the Lokpal's purview. "If the Lokpal bill is imposed on the Prime Minister while he is in office, you open him up to constant engagement which will be unhealthy for the leadership of the country," he said. "The Prime Minister needs to lead the country and he needs to focus on running the country. I have my concerns over bringing him within the Lokpal's purview while holding office," he said, while describing it as his personal opinion. "The Prime Minister should come under the ambit of the bill the day he left office," he added.

Speaking about the troubled Rs 52,000 crore Posco steel project in Orissa, Rahul drew a parallel with Uttar Pradesh and suggested that the solution could lie in setting it up on non-agricultural land. "My issue on Posco is the same as my issue on Bhatta Parsaul in Uttar Pradesh. What is happening in UP is the transfer of land from the poor to rich people. As far as infrastructure is concerned ... we do not have a problem. We have a problem with the compensation level," he said.

"Our main issue is what the people are going to get at the end. Are they going to be rehabilitated in the company?" Gandhi asked saying that the poor should not be pushed aside.

The Orissa government, he said, has to fulfill 30 conditions set by the Centre on the Posco project, he said.

"If Orissa government fulfills the 30 point programme and we feel the tribals are comfortable and happy with the outcome, that is good. If the tribals are pushed aside, we have a problem with that," Rahul said.

"What we are against is the pushing aside of poor people because they are poor."

The Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government in Orissa came under fire from the Congress leader for "not implementing" centrally-funded schemes and corruption. "It is not a problem of central funds which are abundant. The problem basically relates to corruption and non-implementation of centrally-funded schemes," he told reporters.

Rahul alleged that though Rs 35,000 crore was provided by the Centre to Orissa, the funds were not utilized properly as the BJD government failed to implement various schemes and programmes. Describing the rural job scheme MGNREGA as a dynamic and powerful tool for the uplift of the poor, Rahul claimed that the Orissa government had failed to properly implement it.

Speaking about the membership drive by the Youth Congress, he said youths were joining it in large numbers. Rahul also claimed that the Congress could return to power in the state. "I am confident that the Congress can come to power in Orissa," he said.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Your fight is our fight

"Although the union government is being run by coalition partners and different states have different kinds of problems, the proposed land acquisition bill finally passed would be farmer friendly."

While hearing the grievances of farmers, Gandhi said: "We have a coalition government at the centre in Delhi. There are a number of partners. We have to hold discussions with them; we are talking to our partners. We will bring a pro-farmers' bill; we are trying our best to pass it in the next session of the Lok Sabha."

"It takes time to make a new law and the union government is working on it. If we make the law in haste, it will be wrong. We wish to make a new law which can last for at least next 30 to 40 years if not half of the century."

"We have to find a solution to land acquisition and we can find that through dialogue alone. Don't suppress people and their voices - what the UP government did while acquiring their land forcibly in Greater Noida. You need to involve people, if you don't involve the poor, it amounts to atrocities on them."

He went on to say that the Congress party runs the union government and "we will do our best to give you a good, new land law".

"The state government's intention here does not seem to be good. It seems the state wishes to help only one person - the builders, not the farmers."

He, however, said, "If the Congress government comes to power in UP, it will be your government. It will not be the Congress government but the government of the people of Uttar Pradesh.".

"Your fight is our fight," Gandhi said while charging the Uttar Pradesh government with running the state "to benefit the builders and not farmers".

"Normally governments elected by people are run for the poor. But the Uttar Pradesh government is running for the benefit of big builders. It has forgotten the farmers and labourers, who have toiled and shed their sweat to provide food for the nation," the Amethi MP said.

"Thefts are committed in the dead of night. But here thefts were being committed in broad daylight. The state government is getting this theft done on farmers. Lucknow is getting this theft of land done against all of you and theft against thousands of farmers in UP," Gandhi said.

Claiming that the state's land acquisition policy was full of flaws, he said that such policies should be framed after talks with farmers to take them into confidence.

"Though the Mayawati government brought a new land acquisition policy a few days ago, after our pressure, the new policy was meant not for farmers but for someone else.

It also has a number of shortcomings," said Rahul while questioning the state's decision to exclude all acquisitions already taken place.

"Why should the farmers of Bhatta Parsaul or Tappal not be heard and not given due compensation for land as per new rates. They have given their lives and why does the government forget their loss," said Gandhi, who was referring to the Greater Noida villages where he had joined the farmers' stir in May, and called for the new land policy to be made applicable to farmers with retrospective effect.

Gandhi said farmers were not against development and needed to be involved in the process.

"We are also not against development. Roads should be made. Development is need of the hour. Villages should be linked to cities. But the question is how this will be done.

"Golion se banegi ki ya baat cheet se banegi (this will be done through bullets or through dialogue)," he said.

While accusing the Mayawati government of pursuing "anti-farmer and anti-labourer" policies, Gandhi asked the farmers to join him in the Aligarh Mahapanchayat on July 9 and express their views openly.

"While we are with you, you should show the government what the farmers of the state think about its land policies. The nation will listen to your voice. Your fight is our fight," said Gandhi while garnering support for the Aligarh mahapanchayat.

The AICC general secretary said that the Centre's policies are sympathetic towards the interests of farmers and labourers but claimed that the UP government was busy "constructing mall and stadia to favour the big builders".

"Your land is taken away and you don't even know when your land was taken away. You are not even told about it. You come to know of it only after it is taken away forcibly," Gandhi said. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

As rightly said by Rahul Gandhiji, there are two India, one for rich and one for poor. A poor man stays in jail as he couldn't hire a lawyer in higher courts and a rich man gets away with arrest and terrorises the poor with the present state of judiciary and police. A lot of reform is needed in judiciary. Are we really equal before law in India? Who ensures justice in India, the Constitution or the ruling party members!