Reacting to the decisions taken by the Punjab government at a meeting on Thursday, Congress Legislature Party leader Sunil Jakhar said the SAD- BJP alliance would have to do much more as the damage control exercise.
Jakhar said the alliance had backtracked from most election promises and people felt cheated for the past almost four years. The alliance had promised to increase old-age and widow pension by 100% besides providing jobs to 1.14 lakh unemployed educated youths. The pension should have been increased from Rs 250 to Rs 500 in 2012 when the government took over for the second term. The arrears thus amounted to Rs 11,000 for each beneficiary and the government owed Rs 2,200 crore to about 20 lakh pensioners.
He said different agencies had estimated the number of unemployed youths as 10 lakh in 2012. The ruling Badals, in their election rallies, had promised to provide government jobs to all of them, but not even 10% of them had been accommodated in the past almost four years, Jakhar added.
The state government had used police force to suppress the agitations launched by unemployed and poorly paid youths all these years. And at the fag-end of their rule, the alliance now could foresee the fall of the alliance in the 2017 polls, he added.
Too little too late: Capt on recruiting claims
Congress deputy leader in Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh on Thursday said the Punjab government’s claim to recruit people now is a desperate bid by a desperate government to befool people, which would not cut any ice with them.
“This is too little and too late,” Amarinder remarked, while pointing out that the extent of unemployment in the state is too humongous to be addressed by such announcements.
Ridiculing the government’s decision to award life imprisonment for sacrilegious acts, he said, “When this government has not been able to identify the culprits of the sacrilege, what is the point in raising the punishment to life term? It is like shooting the air.”
The former chief minister said the government jobs could hardly solve the unemployment problem in the state. He said the only solution lay in promoting and encouraging investment and saving industry. He said the government had completely failed the industry, which was shifting and shutting down, leading to more unemployment.