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HindustanTimes Sun,13 Jul 2014

Sonia recovers, set to unveil slew of schemes

Saubhadra Chatterji, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, August 27, 2013
First Published: 23:30 IST(27/8/2013) | Last Updated: 01:15 IST(28/8/2013)

Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s sudden illness may have forced her to rush to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on Monday evening but party sources said she has a packed schedule for the coming months with a special focus on social sector — her pet project.

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Next month, Gandhi is likely to attend functions on social schemes ranging from health, education to women’s empowerment and allotment of land to the landless. A top Congress leader told HT that plans are afoot for her tour to different states — the cumulative budget for these schemes is estimated to be more than a thousand crore.

Gandhi returned home from AIIMS on Tuesday but spent the day at her residence. She did not meet many people. Party spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das said, “She is perfectly all right. She is stable.” The Congress chief is expected to return to the Lok Sabha on Thursday when it takes up the land bill for passage.     

Gandhi is also slated to launch the pilot project of ‘Sabala’ initiative in New Delhi soon. The scheme, piloted by union women and child development ministry, aims to empower women about their rights and create awareness. Another big-ticket programme on children’s education is also planned in Delhi, where Gandhi will take the centre stage.

The Congress president is also scheduled to visit Kerala, tentatively on September 7-8, to formally roll out the Congress-led UDF government’s ambitious ‘Arogya Kiranam’ scheme. It provides free treatment in government hospitals to all children below the age of 18, irrespective of their poverty status. There, she will launch another ambitious scheme of providing land to all landless poor in Kerala by 2015.

Before formally launching the party’s poll campaign for the assembly elections, Gandhi is also expected to visit Rajasthan to launch government projects. A visit to Madhya Pradesh is also on the cards.

With the next general elections due in less than eight months, the Congress president’s plan to step on the gas has already seen her launching the food security scheme on Monday. She also broke her silence to participate in the debate for the first time in the current Lok Sabha, leading the party’s plank on the food bill.


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