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It?s ?job politics? time

AS CHIEF Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav doles out the first installment of ?unemployment allowance? to unemployed graduates and postgraduates on Friday, ?job? politics is set to assume greater dimensions in Uttar Pradesh.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2006 10:53 IST

AS CHIEF Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav doles out the first installment of “unemployment allowance” to unemployed graduates and postgraduates on Friday, ‘job’ politics is set to assume greater dimensions in Uttar Pradesh.

The scheme came close on the heels of the National Rural Employment Scheme that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had launched in 22 districts of the State. This would be for the first time that any State government would pay ‘unemployment allowance’ to youths registered with employment exchanges.

Yet much before their launch, the two schemes were caught in a cross-fire between the Congress and the Samajwadi Party. The Congress leaders are already crying foul. The Mulayam government had launched the scheme in an obvious bid to counter Centre’s National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, said Congress leaders. Instead of paying ‘unemployment allowance’, efforts should have been made to create more employment avenues, said All India Congress Committee (AICC) secretary Praveen Rashtrapal. Payment of such allowance would lead to inflation, he said.

Rashtrapal’s reaction was not off the cuff. He visited some villages in Unnao district and even provided statistics to prove that the State government was not utilising funds given under the UPA’s job scheme. The CM too often attacked the prime minister for not providing any financial assistance to State government to implement unemployment allowance scheme.

This was not the first time that leaders of the two parties had attacked each other even on issues of public concern. A verbal duel had been witnessed recently over ‘water’ and ‘power’ issues. Water supply to Delhi’s Sonia Vihar project remained a contentious issue between Mulayam government’s coalition partner Rashtriya Lok Dal and the Congress. The State government move to stop 24-hour power supply to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi’s Rae Bareli constituency after the SP candidate lost deposit in the by-poll there, yet again brought to fore the politics involved in it. Union Minister for Energy Sushil Kumar Shinde visited the VVIP constituency and reviewed the progress of centrally sponsored projects and said a report over power supply situation in Rae Bareli and Amethi had been sought.

Significantly, leaders from both sides continue to assert that issues of public importance should not be subjected to politicking. Yet they have refused to relent and continue to launch attacks on each other on one pretext or the other. As the unemployment allowance scheme is the most ambitious scheme of the State government, large-scale preparations are being made to make it a gala event.

Under the scheme, the State government would pay an ‘unemployment allowance’ of Rs 500 per month to unemployed graduates and post-graduates registered with employment exchanges up to February 28. The State government has made a provision of Rs 400 crore to pay the unemployment allowance in 2006-2007.

Chief secretary Naveen Chand Bajpai has already presided over a number of meetings to review the preparations being made for Friday’s function. As per the proposal, free buses would be provided at all the tehsil headquarters of Lucknow division to ferry the unemployed youths to Lucknow. All youths coming to attend the function would be given free breakfast and lunch inside the buses and all hospitals in the district have been placed on full alert to meet any eventuality on the occasion.