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UPA report card: PM gives cautious pat on back, lists challenges

Presenting his govt`s report card, PM hailed the performance of economy while sounding a note of caution for the year ahead.



Zeenews Bureau

New Delhi: Presenting his government`s
report on completion of first year, Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh today vowed to fight terrorism "root and branch" and
enforce the writ of the State in dealing with naxalism and
political extremism.

Making it clear that he was "conscious of the tremendous
challenges" lying ahead, he said the government will seek "new
frontiers and new directions" to strengthen social and
economic foundations during the remaining tenure of four
years.

`The Report to the People -- 2009-10`, which was
unveiled by Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi,
highlighted 12 major themes of the government`s priority.

These cover areas like economic resurgence, internal
security, education, health, child rights, food security,
empowerment of women, weaker sections and minorities, rural
renewal and foreign relations.
Naxalism & extremism

  • Government`s determined to fight terrorism
    "root and branch" and deal with Naxalism "firmly" while
    addressing developmental issues.

  • State governments deal with various issues related to
    LWE in their states. The Central government supplements their
    efforts in several ways, it said.

  • The report said an amount of Rs 668.61 crore has been
    released during 2009-10 under the schemes for Modernisation of
    Police Forces (Rs 578.61 crore), Security Related Expenditure
    (Rs 60 crore) and Special Infrastructure Scheme (Rs 30 crore)
    to left wing extremism affected states.

  • A sum of Rs 1230 crore has been released to all the
    states for modernisation of state police forces, the report
    said.

  • Government would fight the
    scourge of communalism and "political extremism".

    Defence & security

  • "An integrated and synergistic approach has been adopted
    by involving the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, Intelligence,
    Custom, State Marine Police, and other central and state
    agencies in meeting this challenge," the report said.

  • Two mountain divisions
    to safeguard the North-Eastern borders and setting up of the
    second Officers Training Academy (OTA) at Gaya in Bihar
    approved.

  • The modernisation of Rashtriya Rifles was also approved to
    improve the counter insurgency grid in Jammu and Kashmir.

  • "Another area being accorded high priority is the
    development of roads and infrastructure in the high altitude
    areas," it added.

  • It said during 2009-10, construction of 210 km of
    fencing, 310 km of border roads and 400 km of floodlighting
    was completed along the India-Bangladesh border. Construction
    of 50 border out-posts has also commenced.

  • The report said the government has decided to induct the
    Indo-Russian joint collaboration `BrahMos` supersonic cruise
    missile system, with precision strike capability against land
    targets. Akash surface-to-air missile system capable of
    multi-target handling, was also being inducted.

  • To improve the living conditions of the troops, 48,470
    family dwelling units were constructed under the Married
    Accommodation Project (MAP).

  • The government accepted a high-powered
    committee`s recommendation to improve welfare and it benefited
    12 lakh personnel and an Armed Forces Tribunal was established
    to provide an appellate forum to aggrieved personnel.

    Inflation

    The PM said "one of the major problems that we face at
    present is the pressure on prices" which he attributed to the
    large extent to the aftermath of the drought.

  • Allocation to state governments under the open market sales scheme (domestic) for release of 20 lakh tonnes of wheat was made between October 2009 to March 2010 to improve supply.
  • Prices of rice and wheat was maintained to protect the
    poor. PM added that there are enough food grains to
    intervene in the market to keep the prices at reasonable
    level.

  • Other measures: a selective ban on exports and futures
    trading in food grains, zero import duty on select food items
    and removal of restrictions on licensing, he said.

    We will continue to monitor the situation very carefully, and
    take whatever corrective steps are necessary to rein in
    inflation," Singh said.
    Rural development

  • Government said it remains committed to
    ensuring "inclusive growth" by improving rural infrastructure
    in a "comprehensive manner" through the second phase (2009-10
    to 2014-15) of Bharat Nirman.

  • "Efforts are being continued to provide electricity, safe
    drinking water, all weather roads, telephones and broadband
    connectivity to all eligible villages or habitations and
    substantially augment rural housing stock and irrigation
    potential," it added.

  • Mahatma Gandhi NREGA has provided nearly 600 crore
    person-days of work at a total expenditure of around Rs 70,000
    crore since its inception in 2006, government said.

  • Singh said, "Of the projects sanctioned under the JNNURM so far, an investment of around Rs 36,000 crore is devoted to the programmes for basic services to urban poor and development of slums."
  • The UPA-II aims to make the country slum-free in the next five years under the Rajiv Awas Yojana for slum dwellers. "Construction of around 1.5 million houses for the poor and slum dwellers has been approved," the report card states.

    Women empowerment

  • Women`s
    Reservation Bill passed in the Rajya Sabha and
    personnel policies made more "gender sensitive".

  • UPA government has set up the
    National Mission for Empowerment of Women in March this year
    to secure inter-sectoral convergence of all pro-women or women
    centric programmes cutting across ministries and departments,
    states and Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).

  • The government has decided to enhance the corpus of the
    Rashtriya Mahila Kosh to Rs 500 crore from the existing Rs
    100 crore.

  • To promote girls` education, government has started a scheme for the establishment and management separate hostels for them in the educationally backward blocks. During 2009-10, approval has been given to set up 379 such hostels in 11 states.
    Roads & highways

    The government today said it will
    construct 7,000 km of national highways per year, a view
    that runs contrary to that of the Planning Commission, which
    favours a lower annual target of 2,500 km for this fiscal.

    While Road Transport Minister Kamal Nath has been
    reiterating that the ministry will construct 20 km of highways
    every day, the Planning Commission recently set an annual
    target of 2,500 km for 2010-11.

    Climate change

  • Launch of National Action Plan on
    Climate Change, the passage of a bill for early disposal of
    environmental cases and unlocking of Rs 9,900 crore green fund
    lying unused for last several years, were the highlights of
    the UPA government.

  • The "Report to the People" on the environment sector talks about the eight
    missions of the NAPCC of which solar mission has already been
    launched.

  • Three others namely Himalayan Ecosystem, Strategic
    Knowledge on Climate Change and Enhanced Energy Efficiency
    have already been approved "in principle".

  • On the green fund, it said, states have been asked to
    set up panels on Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management &
    Planning Authorities (CAMPA) for enabling release of 10 per
    cent of the Rs 9,900 crores for the next five years.

  • One of the major achievement on the green front was the
    passage of the National Green Tribunal Bill, 2009, providing
    for establishment of a tribunal for effective and expeditious
    disposal of cases relating to environmental protection,
    conservation of forests and other natural resources.

    Northeast development

    Singh said development of road and rail
    network and improving air connectivity to the Northeast have
    been the priority area for the UPA government to ensure
    overall growth in the region.

  • "Guwahati and Agartala are already connected. Projects
    for connecting the capitals of Manipur, Nagaland, Mizoram and
    Arunachal Pradesh have been taken up," the report said.

  • About air connectivity, the government said one
    greenfield airport at Pakyong in Sikkim was already under
    construction involving a cost of Rs 264 crore.

  • On road improving road network, the government said about
    596 km of road length has been completed in last one year in
    the region.

  • Giving details on improving security in the region, the
    government said a regional coordination mechanism, covering
    all the Northeastern states, for gathering, analysing and
    disseminating intelligence has been set up at Shillong and has
    been operationalised with effect from February 23.

  • Formation works along a length of 35.89 km and
    surfacing works along a length of 11.2 km were completed on 11
    roads along the India-China border.

    Electricity

  • "Four more reactors are under advanced stages of
    construction and on completion will take the installed
    capacity to 7280 MWe by 2011," said the report.

  • Singh noted that with the commissioning of the Rajasthan
    Atomic Power Station Units 5 and 6 during the year, the total
    installed capacity of nuclear power has reached 4560 MWe.

  • Government announced
    that it would commission four hydro power projects in Jammu
    and Kashmir this year.

  • About the rural electrification, it said, that in the
    last fiscal, against a target of 17,500 un-electrified
    villages, 18,374 villages have been electrified under the
    Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY).

  • The report also boasted that against a target of 47 lakh
    below poverty line (BPL) household connections, 47.18 lakh BPL
    households have been given free electricity connections.

    Minority welfare

    Prime Minister`s new 15-point
    programme for ensuring targeted development to minorities and
    the government`s thrust on improving their education status
    find mention in the UPA-II report card to people.

  • Special
    development plans for the 90 minority concentrated districts
    (MCDs) as major steps in this regard.

  • Prime Minister
    Manmohan Singh said 60 ITIs, located in the MCDs are to be
    upgraded as part of the new 15-point programme.

  • Singh has also referred to the recent passage of a bill
    to amend the Waqf Act, 1995 on May 7 by Lok Sabha that
    provides for penal provisions to prevent encroachment of waqf
    properties, representation of women in the waqf boards and
    greater accountability and efficiency in the administration of
    waqf properties by the waqf boards.

  • The report said three new schemes have been added to the
    Prime Minister`s new 15-point programme in 2009-10.

  • He said that 17.29 lakh scholarships were given to
    children belonging to the minority communities for their
    pre-matriculation studies. 48 per cent of these are pre-matric
    scholarships on which an amount of Rs 202.94 crore was spent
    were awarded to girls.

    Under the post-matric scholarship scheme, 3.88 lakh
    scholarships were awarded at a cost of Rs 148.74 crore and
    nearly 55 per cent of the beneficiaries were girls.

  • Minorities were provided over Rs 96,000 crore of bank
    credit while 502 public sector bank branches were opened in
    districts with a substantial minority population.

    Education

  • The UPA government has opened nearly 20,000 elementary schools across the country after it came to power last May.
  • According to a report card, released by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today, 19,247 primary and upper primary schools have been opened in 2009-10 till December end.
  • These facilities include 7,400 primary schools and 11,847 upper primary schools. Over 35,000 teachers have been appointed in this period and 9,708 additional classrooms constructed.
  • Similarly, 26.62 lakh teachers have been provided in-service training and 9.54 crore children given textbooks, the report said.
  • Government has launched Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan with the objective of improving access to secondary education. Clearance has been given for setting up of 2,478 new schools and improving 6,998 existing schools under the scheme, it said.

    Judicial reforms

  • The Government is making efforts to
    cut down pendency of cases from the present 15 years to just
    three years.

  • Government has decided to set
    up a national mission for delivery of justice and legal
    reforms.

  • The government has accepted the recommendations of the
    13th Finance Commission for providing Rs 5000 crore to the
    states to set up morning and evening courts, promoting
    alternative dispute resolution mechanisms and providing more
    allocation for legal aid to the needy.

  • Government has implemented the
    Gram Nyayalaya Act on October 2 last year to enable setting up
    of over 500 rural courts at the grass-roots level for delivery
    of quick and affordable justice to people at their doorsteps.

    -Agencies inputs

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