Launching a fresh attack against the Manmohan Singh Government, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that there was pessimism and despondency in the country because of the policy paralysis and the poor leadership at the Centre.
The BJP leader, fresh from leading his party to its third back-to-back success in the Gujarat Assembly polls, was responding to the speech made by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the 57th National Development Council (NDC) meeting here.
“It is the country’s misfortune that a sense of despondency is writ large across the country. There’s a policy paralysis and extremely poor leadership, due to which the country is experiencing this stagnancy,” he said.
“During the NDC meeting last year, the Government of India projected 9 per cent GDP growth but managed (only) 7.9 per cent growth rate. It is extremely unfortunate that after 14 months, the Planning Commission has convened this meeting to deliberate upon achieving 8.2 per cent growth rate (pegged down further to 8 per cent at the meet). So, this jamboree of Chief Ministers has been organised only to achieve a target of 0.3 per cent?” he asked. Modi sought to question the Centre over bringing down the growth targets and said that a more ambitious and involved government would have achieved the 9 per cent growth target.
He cited the example of his own state and asked the Centre that if it could blame international factors for the sluggish economic growth, how come that a number of states, including Gujarat, had consistently defied the trend and achieved much higher growth rates.
Amid the gloomy economic scenario, Modi said, novel initiatives like the programme of skill development for the youth in Gujarat in the manufacturing sector “had yielded rich dividends in terms of employment generation in the state”.
“In contrast, the outlook for employment for the youth across the country remains bleak, which casts a doubt on India’s capacity to take advantage of the demographic dividend. Why cannot the Centre replicate such schemes, especially when the Planning Commission has studied the ‘Kaushal Vardhak Kendras’ (skill development centres) of Gujarat and encouraged other states to ape the model,” he asked.
Modi also demanded the setting up of a Natural Resources Commission--on the lines of the Finance Commission. Modi said that the Centre was undermining the federal structure of the Constitution through its “non-consultative approach”.
Modi also flayed UPA on the issue of the Centre’s cap on subsidised LPG for domestic consumers, saying that it had hurt the Aam Aadmi the most.