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HindustanTimes Thu,23 Oct 2014

Modi changes tone, reminds Cong of ideas

Shekhar Iyer Shekhar Iyer, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, November 17, 2013
First Published: 21:27 IST(17/11/2013) | Last Updated: 00:37 IST(18/11/2013)

Under attack from top Congress ministers repeatedly for offering only acerbic criticism and not solutions, BJP prime minister candidate Narendra Modi used his Sunday rally address in Bangalore to be a bit different.

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Altering his scipt, Modi chose to remind the centre that he had done his bit with ideas, say to bring down prices of essential items but they were in the Centre's "cold storage."

In a change in his tack, Modi referred to a working group on consumer affairs he headed, which consisted of CMs of Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, way back in April 2010 at the insistence of the Prime Minister.

The panel gave 20 recommendations with 64 detailed “actionable points” that would facilitate expeditious implementation for reining in prices over a period of time, as Modi pointed.

Read: Cong trying to suppress freedom of expression, says Modi

The proposals included unbundling FCI operation in terms of procurement, storage and distribution functions, and setting up of a Price Stabilization Fund to help the states for procurement and distribution.

It also mooted better distribution channel from farms to consumer, increasing participation of organized sector and cooperatives in retailing including farmers’ markets, agro- processing, storage and cold chains for wastage control and reduction, and proactive monetary policy.

Modi's report, as it was called, voted for "liberalisation of agriculture markets" for enhancing the participation of "organised sector", including cooperatives, in "retailing" of agricultural produce.

The report also recommended keeping essential commodities out of futures "for the time being", given the "lack of strong linkages between spot and future markets at present."

Calling for a 10-year perspective plan to improve agri-infrastructure of backward and forward linkages for agriculture production and marketing, the report suggested providing "priority sector lending to agri-marketing activities".

Modi recalled the panel submitted a report to the PM in January 2011, and nothing was heard of since then.

BJP strategists said Modi chose a Congress-ruled Karnataka to talk about his group's report when inflation remains a burning issue.

Senior Congress ministers have repeatedly questioned Modi for offering no new ideas or alternative ways to solve issues.

As they put it, Modi's rally speech in Bangalore may have disappointed those wanting to hear more of his acerbic attacks on the Congress or its leaders but he was likely to talk about his ideas and what can be possible options after the campaign for the Lok Sabha polls heightens once the current states polls in Delhi, Rajasthan, MP and Chattisgarh get over.

Comparing his previous speeches, BJP managers agreed that Modi’s Sunday address was more like the way he had begun after he was made BJP’s Lok Sabha polls in June, and later as PM candidate in September.

 


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