Union home minister P Chidambaram, who had earlier held the finance portfolio, on Wednesday made light of the adverse comment made by Standard and Poor’s on the Indian economy, saying the fundamentals were still strong.
“We tend to overreact to the report of a rating agency like Standard & Poor’s. The track record of such agencies is not very encouraging,” he said. “The economy is not contracting but growing, albeit (more) slowly than we expected.”
Speaking on Gujarat, he said: “There is a substantial contribution of the central government in Gujarat’s development, as the state’s planned outlay was Rs. 11,500 crore in 2005-06, which has reached Rs. 51,000 crore in the current year,” he said, trying to counter chief minister Narendra Modi’s allegation that the state was receiving unfair treatment.
Chidambaram is in Gujarat as part of a group of ministers to interact with the local media.
Union information and brodcasting minister Ambika Soni said: “The state’s so-called vibrancy is not reflected in social indicators like nourishment among women and children. Why are the women of Gujarat not (well) nourished compared to other states?” she asked, taking a dig at the Modi government’s claims at Vibrant Gujarat, an occasion for attracting investment.
Soni said more than 50% children in Gujarat suffered from malnourishment while the rate among women exceeded 55%.
“The UPA government has launched and supported many schemes for women and child welfare and all states are provided resources to implement the schemes despite limited resources,” she added.
Salman Khurshid, minister for minority affairs and law and justice, said Gujarat was the only state that was not implementing the pre-metric scholarship scheme for students belonging to minority communities.