Why cut in grant of welfare schemes: Congress to NDA govt

Bhubaneswar: The Congress today sought to know the reason behind cut in the allocation for different welfare schemes despite BJP-led NDA government’s claim of having earned Rs 3 lakh crore from the auction of 29 coal blocks alone.

“If you (NDA Govt) have earned Rs 3 lakh crore from coal block auction alone, what exactly prompted the Centre to slash allocation of different welfare schemes like ICDS,” Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Prasad Harichandan said in a hurriedly convened press conference immediately after Union Oil Minister Dharmendra Pradhan addressed mediapersons here.

On Pradan’s statement that the NDA government rejuvenated the economy, the OPCC chief alleged that prices of essential commodities including pulses have gone spiral while there has been no provision of generating employment.

Dubbing the Narendra Modi regime as a government for “corporates”, Harichandan claimed that there has been a cut by Rs 66,258.44 crore in 27 welfare schemes. Though NDA government in its 2014-15 budget estimate earmarked Rs 17,858 crore for ICDS programme, finally cut the amount to Rs 8,000 crore in 2015-16 budget, he said, adding the scheme has immense significance for Odisha which has high rate of MMR and IMR.

Similarly, there has been cut in allocations in different centrally sponsored programmes (CSP) and central schemes, Harichandan said, adding the NDA government’s claim of rejuvenation of economy was totally “false” and “baseless”.

Justifying his allegations against the NDA government, Harichandan said though Prime Minister recently inaugurated the expanded modernisation programme of Rourkela Steel Plant, the BJP-led government has not spent a single rupee for it.

Similarly, the OPCC chief claimed though the then Prime Minister A B Vajpeyee laid foundation stone of the oil refinery at Paradip, it was UPA regime that built the unit.

This is not all, he said, UPA government also proposed the petroleum and petro-chemical complex at Paradip.

The OPCC president, however, expressed concern over silence of Naveen Patnaik’s BJD government in Odisha.

“Though the BJD government was hitting the streets on drop of hat during UPA rule, it has turned silent even as NDA cuts allocations or discontinues welfare schemes,” he said.