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UPA vs NDA report card on House menu

Politics of development would surface next week in Parliament, during the trust vote, when the UPA is expected to present a report card on its performance in comparison to the NDA as the run up to elections, reports Chetan Chauhan.
By Chetan Chauhan | Hindustan Times, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 19, 2008 02:04 AM IST

Politics of development would surface next week in Parliament, during the trust vote, when the UPA is expected to present a report card on its performance in comparison to the NDA as the run up to elections.

In the past few days several Central government ministries have prepared background papers for the PMO to indicate how the government has fared in its four years vis-à-vis the same period for the NDA regime.

The homework for the PMO has twin objectives — to counter offensive against the UPA and showcase what the government has achieved.

On the platter, would be the social sector covering inclusive growth of rural poor and backwards and upgradation of infrastructure, for which the government has spent about 40-50 per cent of the budget allocation in the past years.

At the time when attempts are being made by parties like the BSP to get hold of Muslims, riding on their perceived anti-US feeling, the UPA government would show how its inclusive policies have improved social indicators for Muslims.

In education, out-of-school Muslim children have reduced by half to close to 13 lakh in 2007-08 compared to about 25 lakh in 2003-04, the last year of the NDA regime, because of scholarships and free books for girls and opening of 10,000 schools in Muslim-dominated areas under the Sarva Siksha Abhiyan.

In health, maternity rate among Muslims has improved with opening of health centres in Muslim-dominated districts.

Government data also shows that it has curbed leakages in the PDS from over 55-60 per cent during NDA regime to less than 35 per cent; has improved rural connectivity.

Better performance of flagship programmes like SSA, midday meal scheme and National Rural Health Mission and Pradhin Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojna are some of the areas where the UPA claims to have done better than the NDA regime.

The UPA claimed economy has grown at an average rate of 8.9 per cent every year during its rule as compared to 5.8 per cent during NDA’s. Agriculture, the government said, has grown at 3.55 per cent in last four years in comparison to less than 2 per cent for the NDA regime.

But, the figures to be presented by the government would be strongly debated by both NDA and Left, who would have their own story to tell on India’s growth charter.

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