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HindustanTimes Thu,17 Apr 2014

Modi forgets poll promise to help neo middle class

Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times  Ahmedabad, September 02, 2013
First Published: 23:18 IST(2/9/2013) | Last Updated: 03:05 IST(3/9/2013)

In his preoccupation with the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, chief minister Narendra Modi has apparently forgotten his poll promises to the people in Gujarat. Nine months after the promise to create a committee to cater to the interests of the 'neo middle class' -- houses, jobs and entrepreneurship - no such committee has been formed.

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While releasing the poll manifesto in December 2012, Modi had said the economic progress over the last decade has developed a neo middle class in the state. “We aim to define the neo middle class and work to address their problems.” That was the task of the committee.

One of the key areas the government was meant to focus on was the housing sector.

Following the Congress' repeated mention about it during the polls, the near-defunct Gujarat Housing Board was revived. It had already started building houses in Rajkot, Vadodara and Surat. Modi had approved the slum development policy and the approval for affordable housing is in the offing. 

But tackling with the real trouble of the housing sector can be a problem.

“Realty prices have sky-rocketed thanks to a powerful and deeply entrenched nexus between builders, politicians and bureaucrats,” said a senior official. More than 70 MLAs are directly or indirectly involved in the realty or construction business in the state, said a political observer.

On the employment front, too, despite the promises in the manifesto, there have been no announcement regarding how and where the new jobs might be created, said another official.

No one in the state government is forthcoming on the issue. Chief secretary Varesh Sinha said, “I am not aware, I will have to check”.

However, state government spokesperson and finance minister Nitin Patel was not available for comments.

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