For years, almost every government programme was named after a member of the Nehru-Gandhi family. But the NDA’s first budget has finally recognised other political leaders by unveiling four big schemes named after stalwarts outside the first family of Indian politics.
The programmes are named after Deen Dayal Upadhyay, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Jaiprakash Narayan and Madan Mohan Malviya. Upadhyay and Mukherjee are ideologues of the RSS and BJP while Narayan, popularly called as 'Loknayak', is a political icon of the anti-Congress movement. Educationist Malaviya, a champion of Hindu nationalism, was also among the initial leaders of Hindu Mahasabha.
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The projection of these leaders comes amid a deliberate move to rename or re-package flagship schemes of the UPA. The Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme has given way to the Varishtha Pension Bima Yojana while the Rajiv Gandhi rural electrification scheme has been replaced by the Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana.
During the decade of UPA rule, 11 central government schemes were named after the Nehru-Gandhi family, mostly Rajiv Gandhi. Congress-ruled state governments had also launched 52 similar schemes.
Finance minister Arun Jaitley announced the Shyama Prasad Mukherji Rurban Mission to urbanise rural areas and the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana to augment power supply in rural areas.
He also said that a national centre for excellence in humanities, to be set up in Madhya Pradesh, has been named after Jai Prakash Narayan. A Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya New Teachers Training Programme is also being launched.
The recognition of Malaviya has a larger significance. He was a former national Congress president and founded Benaras Hindu University in Varanasi, which is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s constituency.
Some UPA flagship schemes like the National Rural Livelihood Mission, or Bharat Nirman, found no mention while the Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan has been repackaged as the Swatchh Bharat Abhiyan. Indira Vikas Patra is history with the launch of the Kissan Vikas Patra.