Kumbalangi: Taking a dig at the Narendra Modi government's cleanliness drive 'Swachh Bharat Abhiyan', former prime minister Manmohan Singh on Friday said it was a 'repackaged' programme of previous UPA regime headed by him.
"These are quite in tune with the 'Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan' that the previous government had launched during UPA II," Singh said speaking at a function in this model tourism village in Kerala.
"Under the current regime, it is being repackaged and projected as Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Well a rose is a rose by whatever name you call it", Singh quipped.
Congress has been criticising Modi Government for 'hijacking' its schemes and 'rechristening' them.
Modi launched his pet Swachh Bharat mission, a cleanliness drive across India, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti.
Singh recalled the 'epoch making' initiatives of the two UPA Governments in the field of education -- the passage of Right to Education Act, strengthening of the 'Sarva Shiksha Abhyian' and rolling out the ambitious programme called 'Rasthriya Madhyamic Shiksha Abhiyan' for improving the infrastructure at the secondary education level in all government and government aided schools in the country.
Kerala has greatly benefited by all these initiatives thanks to its strong foundation in the field of universal school education and the large infrastructure laid out by both government and the private sector in establishing educational institutions, he said.
He was launching five initiatives taken up by former union minister KV Thomas in the village, nested in the midst of backwaters and rivulets, where the local populace have vowed to maintain their environment clean and zero use of plastic.
As part of the initiatives, Singh distributed cheques to Headmistresses of seven schools in the village under the 'Vidyaoshanam Poshaga Samridi' under which 30,000 students spread over 110 schools were being provided supplements to mid-day meals.
Cheques totally worth Rs one crore were distributed today.
Under the green village initiative, saplings were distributed and 1,000 bio-gas plants are to be set up in the village.
Under the de-addiction drive, the agreement certificate of families of 162 families who stayed away from alcohol was handed over by Panchayat President Susan Joseph to the former prime minister.
Singh was all praise for Thomas, MP, and Chairman of Public Accounts Committee, who hails from the village.
Besides Thomas, state Ministers K Babu and VK Ibrahim Kunju, Hibi Eden and Dominic Presentation, both MLAs, and Justice Cyriac Joseph, member National Human Rights Commission were among those who spoke.