Pro-Left Jairam defies Rahul
By Mathew A Thomas - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM
Published: 16th Sep 2012 12:46:55 PM
Rahul Gandhi’s writ seems to have run out of ink in the UPA government, especially where Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh is concerned. Last week, Ramesh’s Kerala counterpart K C Joseph had written to Sonia Gandhi in her capacity as chairperson of the National Advisory Council to seek intervention to revise certain norms of some Centrally-sponsored schemes and facilitate their implementation. The letter criticised Ramesh and asserted that he was now being guided by bureaucrats who were known to be in the CPI(M)’s good books during LDF rule.
Joseph told The Sunday Standard that subsequent to his letter, he had a meeting with Rahul Gandhi. He briefed the Gandhi scion on Kerala’s piquant situation, as well as Ramesh’s adamant stance. “Considering the unique situation the Congress-led state finds itself in, Rahul himself contacted Ramesh and also asked the latter’s secretary to arrange a meeting between the Union minister and me,” he said.
The meeting materialised the very next day. Not the desired result, though. “To all my repeated appeals, Ramesh’s attitude was quite unfavourable,” Joseph maintained. The Congress-led government of Kerala is pleading for the inclusion of the small dairy sector and the traditional sectors of coir and khadi in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). “He (Ramesh) views even dairy activity with just two or three cows as a primary means of individual profit-making in place of livelihood,” Joseph pointed out.
Even the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) scheme has completed only seven phases in Kerala owing to the attendant norms unacceptable for bidders, against 13-14 in other states. The state has requested sanction for two more phases.
Criticising Ramesh’s unhelpful attitude, in spite of Rahul’s instructions, Joseph said, “The minister is displaying a pro-Left stance going by his fascination for the ‘Kudumbashree’ project, implemented during LDF rule. Attempts to convert it into a tool for CPI(M) to make inroads into the grassroots sector cannot be approved,” Joseph maintained, adding that “this has been brought to the attention of Sonia Gandhi and Rahul”.
Kudumbashree was launched by the LDF as one of the country’s largest women-empowering projects built around micro credit, entrepreneurship and empowerment with 37 lakh members and covers more than 50 per cent of households in Kerala.
- Sunday Standard