Thursday, June 15, 2006


PM Manmohan Singh visiting Orissa soon?

This article says that PM Singh is visiting Vidarbha at the end of this month
and Bihar and Orissa are next in his list. Lets hope minister
Chandrasekhar Sahu has the correct information and PM Singh will
announce an IISER in Orissa during this upcoming visit.



Friday, June 16, 2006

Manmohan touring villages to assess whether growing rural poverty is linked to liberalisation

By Iftikhar Gilani

NEW DELHI: The Indian Planning Commission's alarm bells over increasing poverty and growing urban-rural divide has made "Dr Liberalization" in Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh sit up to examine if it was linked to the liberalization he set rolling in the early Nineties as the then finance minister.

Though Left parties have been finding a link between liberalization and poverty, but the prime minister had been always dismissive of their criticism. But, the rude shock for Dr Singh was when his own liberalization commander-in-arms Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of the Planning Commission, suggested an urgent reorientation of the liberalization policy to protect the rural poor.

Dr Ahluwalia's recommendation has come in the Planning Commission's draft approach paper on the upcoming 11th Five-Year Plan that stresses that "there is a point beyond which the urban sector cannot grow without being complimented by the rural sector" and hence the urgency to launch an aggressive economic campaign targeting the rural poor.

The paper's pointer is that a plethora of rural programmes launched by the government are not doing the magic of transforming life of the poor as it is rather becoming worse and worse. And so Dr Manmohan Singh has decided to himself travel to villages from this month-end to personally assess what ails the government's policies.

He descends on Nagpur on June 30 and will be extensively travelling to rural areas in Nagpur and other surrounding districts of the Vidarbha region in Maharashtra for three days to study why the rural employment guarantee scheme, Bharat Nirman, rural healthcare mission and other programmes are not yielding the expected results.

Sources in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) said he chose Vidarbha to be his first destination since it has recorded the highest number of 540 farmer suicides in the last one year. He will be interacting with farmers to understand their problems to enable him to prescribe short-term and long-term remedies for the root cause of the suicides.

The prime minister's next destinations are Bihar and Orissa, other two poverty-stricken states. Both the states are ruled by opposition parties, but that did not deter him from inclusion in his travel plans for on -the-spot assessment and review of all rural programmes.

Notwithstanding the Congress convening a conference of its District Congress Commitee (DCC) presidents here last month to actively involve partymen in the government programmes, orders have gone out to ensure minimum political personalities are included in his trips to villages as he wants to devote his maximum time in interacting with the officials actually implementing various programmes as then only can he know why they are not reducing poverty.

The sources said Dr Manmohan Singh also wants to make his Vidarbha trip a learning mission as he wants to pick up something to implement from Mahatma Gandhi's Sevagram and Vinoba Bhave's Paunar Ashram. He shall be staying overnight in one of the two places to have better interaction with residents.

The 11th Plan's draft approach paper envisages the growth rate of 8.5 to 9.5 percent and recommends drastic changes in the priorities fixed in the previous plans, with a promise that the new regime would ensure the average Indian's "real income" doubling in 10 years. It envisages maximum benefit to the deprived people.

The 10th Plan's targeted growth rate was eight percent, but the Planning Commission officials now admit that it may be around seven percent overall in five years.

Check up the new blog site

It is all about Orissa, latest news and comments on the happenings.

It has got a great posting on Posco.
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