Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee president Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu said the BJP-led central government was trying to sabotage social welfare schemes in Himachal through its "callous approach". "The state government is doing its best for development but the central government has drastically reduced the budget for the schemes launched by the UPA government," he added.
Sukhu was addressing party members during the launch of party's "membership campaign" in Ghumarwin and Swarghat in Bilaspur district. Criticizing the central government, he alleged that by making changes to the labour to materials ratio for the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) rural job scheme.
"Development in rural areas has been put on hold due to the indifferent attitude of the central government in granting funds under centrally-funded schemes in the state. The wage component is the heart and soul of the job guarantee scheme and the BJP-led central government's decision to reduce the wage component would directly lead to job cuts. The move was being mulled despite opposition by NGOs and support for the existing module of the scheme," Sukhu added.
He said a cut in the allocation of funds under the NREGA rural job scheme had not only brought development works to a halt, but deprived thousands of poor people of employment. "Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has sought funds under NREGA but the central government had given only 50 per cent of the previous allocation," he added.
Sukhu said the Congress party led government in Himachal had launched numerous welfare programs. "Several schemes are being implemented to make general public economically and socially secure as it is the top priority of our government in the state. The development of the state was done by the Congress government irrespective of 'caste', religion and regional considerations," he added.
Sukhu said the Congress party's membership drive was aimed at making general public aware of its ideology and policies and urged party workers to include new members from all areas of the state.
Congress state general secretary Ram Lal Thakur claimed the failure of the BJP-led central government to fulfill its promises, cuts in the state budget and also the injustice done to the public had resulted in the Congress party being given the mandate to rule the state.