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Lesson in manners from PM

delhi Updated: Aug 15, 2010 23:13 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times
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Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who has been braving criticism from the Opposition on several issues in Parliament, disapproved the use of "harsh and unpleasant words" by political parties, saying criticism should never be "undignified".

"Criticism has a place of its own in a democracy and in a progressive society. However, criticism should not be undignified," he said addressing the nation on the 64th Independence Day.

"We should have the capacity to reconcile opposite points of view on important issues through debate and discussion. I would request all political parties to consider this issue."

The PM said the use of harsh and unpleasant words in the political discourse has increased in recent days.

"This is against our traditions of generosity, humility and tolerance."

Price rise
Under attack for rising prices, Singh said the government was making every effort to control "high inflation" and insulate the poor from its impact.

"I know that in the last few months high inflation has caused you difficulties. It is the poor who are the worst affected, especially when the prices of commodities of every day use like foodgrains, pulses, vegetables increase," he said.

Singh said increase in support prices for farmers for wheat and paddy has resulted in increase in food prices in the open market.

"The support price for wheat was enhanced to Rs 1,100 per quintal last year from Rs 630 a quintal in 2003-04. In paddy, this increase was from Rs 550 per quintal to Rs 1,000 per quintal. But one effect of providing higher prices to farmers is that food prices in the open market also increase."

Singh defended the oil price hike saying: "If this hadn't been done, it wouldn't have been possible for our budget to bear the burden of subsidy and our programmes for education, health and employment of the poor would have been affected."

Health & education
Singh announced the setting up of two separate councils for higher education and health.

"We will soon bring a bill to Parliament for constitution of two separate councils in higher education and health respectively so that reforms in these two areas can be accelerated."

'Clean India'
The PM also wants a "Clean India" campaign to promote cleanliness to check diseases.

"The truth is our country lags behind in this area. I consider it a primary responsibility...to maintain cleanliness and hygiene around them. I would like our children to be taught the importance of hygiene in schools...under a campaign for a Clean India."