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National Security Imperiled, Joblessness, Rising Prices: Manmohan Singh’s Speech on ‘Extremely Challenging Times’

Full text of former prime minister Manmohan Singh's statement delivered on November 21, 2018, in Indore.

Friends, Madhya Pradesh is the heart of India. The roots of the Congress party and its inseparable bonds with its people date back to the days of the National Movement. Flag Satyagraha of Jabalpur in 1923, Salt Satyagraha of 1930 in Jabalpur and Jungle Satyagraha (Betul, 1930) led by Mahatma Gandhi for our tribal brothers and sisters, are the notable movements led by the Congress party. The Congress party will always remain in the hearts of the people of Madhya Pradesh.

Friends, our nation is going through extremely challenging times, since the last four and a half years. Farmers’ distress is all pervading; the youth are suffering from acute joblessness. The common man is suffering from rising prices, notably prices of petrol, diesel and cooking gas. National Security is imperiled, women are unsafe, marginalized and weaker sections are facing persecution.

Modi Government unleashes Economic mayhem by Demonetisation & Flawed GST

Unwitting and ill-conceived decisions of Demonetisation and a flawed GST, coupled with Tax Terrorism, have dealt a body blow to both organized and unorganized sectors. Small, medium and micro enterprises are reeling under the adverse and painful effects of the double whammy of Demonetisation and GST.

Modi Government seeks to build ‘a false narrative a day’ to justify Demonetisation disaster by inventing new arguments. But the plain truth and stark reality is that Demonetisation is a monumental failure of epic proportions implemented by the Modi Government. None of the stated objectives of Demonetisation has been achieved. Neither was the Rs 3 Lakh Crore of ‘Black Money’ confiscated as claimed before the Supreme Court on 10th Nov, 2016; nor was ‘Fake Currency’ checked. Stated objectives of ending Terrorism & Naxalism have totally floundered.

Demonetisation was a deliberate and designed attack on the savings of Small and Medium businesses, Farmers and Housewives. Infact, multiple revelations have only exposed how Demonetisation was only a dubious scheme to convert ‘Black Money’ to ‘White’, even as over 120 poor people lost their lives in the bank queues, and a parallel market to convert old notes into new notes flourished under the watch of Modi Government.

The promise made by Modi ji in 2014 elections to bring back billions of dollars of Indian black money lying in Swiss banks has turned out to be a hollow promise. So also is the case with his promise to deposit Rupees fifteen lakhs in the account of every Indian.

Where are the Jobs?

Friends, creation of two crore jobs per annum for the youth promised by Modi ji in 2014 is a pipe dream mooted by the Modi Government. The only reliable data is the quarterly survey of the Labour Bureau. Those numbers reveal that only a few thousand jobs are created — or added — every quarter. That is a far cry from the 2 crore jobs a year that were promised as part of Achhe Din. Why has the Labour Bureau Survey for Oct-Dec 2017 not been released?

As an example in Madhya Pradesh- 2,81,000 youths with MBA/LLB/BE/PhD applied for 738 peon posts in Feb 2018.

Over a 14 year period, in Madhya Pradesh – BJP failed at creating any substantial jobs. On average, only 17,600 jobs were created every year. Maximum number of people in India, who ended their life due to unemployment, belong to BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh. Between 2005 and 2015, there has been a 2000% increase in suicide cases in Madhya Pradesh due to unemployment. In the absence of opportunities for gainful employment, young people are forced to take up low paying, poor quality jobs.

Credibility of Institutions denigrated- Corruption galore

Friends, in the last few months, we have witnessed how the credibility of our institutions has been systematically denigrated. A careful, well-thought out and a calibrated effort is being made by the powers that be to weaken them. Democracy and rule of law are under attack. Friends, we have to fight this onslaught on our Institutions, otherwise- history shall never forgive us.

This Government came to power on the promise to usher transparency and fight against corruption. A few months are left, for its term to end – But we have only witnessed corruption peaking under PM Modi. The acts of omission and commission in Rafale deal need thorough investigation by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC).

The VYAPAM Scam has marred the future of over 77 Lakh young men and women in which over 50 people have lost their lives. The ‘e-Tender’ scam involves large scale manipulations in government bids to favour a select few private companies. The BJP government has allowed the river Narmada, one of the holiest rivers in India, to be plundered by the sand mafia. Whether it is the ‘Onion-purchase scam’ or the ‘Dal-purchase scam’ or the ‘Agriculture-Pump Subsidy Scam’, proper investigation and accountability are the first casualty in Madhya Pradesh.

Kisan Virodhi Policies of Modi –Shivraj Governments!

Friends, Farmers are in great pain all over India, including Madhya Pradesh.Madhya Pradesh has a very high incidence of farmer suicide; a farmer commits suicide every five hours in the state. Between 2004 and 2016, Madhya Pradesh saw nearly 17,000 farmer suicides.

What can be more painful than the fact that in Raisen, farmers were killed using AK-47 by the BJP Government. The merciless killing of half a dozen farmers in police firing in Mandsaur is fresh in the Nation’s memory. Yet no relief from farm debt has even been considered.

MSP at Cost +50% have become another ‘Jumla’!

Stark reality is that the farmers in Madhya Pradesh have not received even Minimum Support Prices (MSP) for their produce, be it Soyabean, groundnut, Arhar, Urad or other crops. GST on fertilizer, pesticides and agricultural equipment’s; besides the runaway prices of fertilizers including DAP and Potash have imposed intolerable burden on farmers. The much touted Bhavantar Bhugtan Yojana has flopped miserably in Madhya Pradesh.

Since the implementation of the Fasal Bima Yojana (Crop Insurance Scheme) the number of farmers covered by crop insurance has gone up only by 0.42 percent as premiums paid to insurance companies have increased by 350 percent. Only one year after its implementation, 85 lakh farmers dropped out of the scheme. Madhya Pradesh faced a drought last season. Farmers in Sehore, the CM’s home district, received compensation ranging from Rs 4.70 to Rs 194. Of the nearly 69 lakh farmers enrolled with PMFBY in the state, only 16 lakh benefitted.

Neglect of Women, Children, Adivasis & Health Sectors

Progress can only be truly measured by the state of well-being of women, children, adivasis and the health parameters.

NCRB data reflects monstrous attacks on the girl child and women in Madhya Pradesh in terms of gruesome incidents of rapes and kidnapping. There is very high incidence of crimes against children and the number of missing children is a source of great concern. 48 lakh children suffer from malnutrition as per the National Family Health Survey-IV, 2016.Infant mortality rates are at an unacceptably high level. Over 90,000 children in Madhya Pradesh do not even live to celebrate their first birthday. (Sample Registration Survey, GOI, Sept 2017)

Health infrastructure in Madhya Pradesh is in shambles. Madhya Pradesh ranks at 17th position out of the 21 big states for healthcare services. The per capita expenditure on Health is mere Rs 716. Out of 1117 sanctioned post of doctors in Primary Health Centres, 817 are lying vacant. Out of 1236 sanctioned posts of Maternity/Gynae/Child Specialists, 1056 are vacant.

Our Adivasi brothers and sisters are in distress. The Madhya Pradesh government has rejected 3,63,424 Adivasi patta claims (Report of Tribal Ministry, GOI). MSP of forest produce is not sufficiently remunerative.

Friends, both Madhya Pradesh & India now stand at crossroads. After decades, the time has come for the intelligent and enterprising people of Madhya Pradesh to once again repose their faith in the Congress Party, which will work together with them to take the state to new heights and the future it deserves.

Jai Hind.

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