Raipur, Oct 29 (SocialNews.XYZ) Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Sunday highlighted the work of the Bhupesh Baghel government in Chhattisgarh saying that the state has the lowest unemployment rate in the country -- just 0.8 per cent and 15 lakh jobs were created in last five years.
"After the tenure of a Congress government headed by late Ajit Jogi, the BJP was elected thrice in succession and three governments were formed by Raman Singh between 2003 and 2018," Chidambaram said while addressing a press conference.
He said that since 2018, the Congress government is in office under Bhupesh Baghel and it is but natural that we compare the state of the State of Chhattisgarh in 2018 and in 2023.
He said that at the end of the BJP government’s third term, agriculture was in deep distress.
"Between May 2015 and November 2017, a staggering 1,300 farmers took their own lives -- that is more than one suicide per day. In 2017, government declared drought in 96 tehsils in 21 districts but farmers failed to get the promised amount under the crop insurance scheme. The BJP government also failed to give MSP as promised," he charged.
He said that at the end of 2017-18, the fiscal deficit of the state was 3.34 per cent and Chhattisgarh was one of the poorest states of India with 39 per cent of its population living in poverty, 41 per cent of children were malnourished and 47 per cent of women in the age group 15-59 years were anemic.
"The per capita income was 11 percentage points below the national average. Only 10 per cent of the employed were in salaried jobs. The unemployment rate for youth (20-29 years) was 26 per cent. Both female labour participation and female employment were abysmally low," he pointed out.
He also said that in education, Chhattisgarh ranked 22 among all states in terms of the Educational Development Index.
"CAG reports revealed that enrollment in government primary schools decreased by 12 per cent between 2010 and 2016. Government budgeted Rs 13,379 crore for education between 2010 and 2016, but spent only Rs 7592 crore.
"A sample audit by CAG found appalling deficiencies in schools with 20 per cent of schools had no libraries, 37 per cent had no playgrounds, 22 per cent had no separate toilets for girls," he pointed out highlighting the failures of the BJP.
He also said that in 2016, 11,963 untrained teachers were in position.
Chidambaram also said that the SC and ST communities were worst affected during the BJP regime.
"Crime rates against SC and ST surged under the BJP government. The government failed to implement the Forest Rights Act. One half of the 74 lakh claims under the Forest Rights Act were arbitrarily rejected," he said.
Highlighting the work of the Baghel government in the last five years in Chhattisgarh, Chidambaram said: "The priority to agriculture has made the state the ‘rice bowl of India’. Rice production has increased from 4.93 million MT in 2018 to 7.16 million MT in 2021. Irrigation facilities were doubled in the last five years enabling many farmers to grow a second crop and Rs 9,272 crore of agriculture loans were waived benefiting 18,72,000 farmers."
He also said that irrigation tax of Rs 244 crore was also waived and paddy is procured at Rs 2,640 per quintal.
"Every landless agricultural labourer receives Rs 7,000 as annual financial assistance. Today, agriculture contributes 32 per cent of the state’s GDP," he said.
He also said that Chhattisgarh has the lowest unemployment rate in the country -- just 0.8 per cent. In last five years 15 lakh jobs were created. Unemployed youth get Rs 2500 per month as an allowance, he said.
He also said that health indicators have dramatically improved.
"Now 56 lakh families (86 per cent of all families) are covered by a comprehensive health insurance scheme that provides free medical treatment up to Rs 5,00,000 per year. All tests, treatments and medicines are free in government health facilities," the Congress leader said.
He said that welfare of women and children is a priority of the Congress government in the state.
"On every parameter concerning women and children, there has been a dramatic improvement. Even the welfare of SC and ST communities is paramount. 45 per cent of the total budget expenditure is on SC and ST communities. Out of 9,22,346 claims under the Forest Rights Act, 4,91,805 were accepted and land titles were distributed," he said.
The number of minor forest produce purchased was increased from 7 to 67. The MSP for tendu leaves was increased from Rs 2500 to Rs 4000 per standard bag, he said.
He further pointed out that per capita income has grown from Rs 88,793 in 2018 to Rs 1,33,897 in 2023.
"According to a NITI Aayog report, 40 lakh people have come out of poverty in the last 5 years. The increase in prosperity is visible on the faces of the people, especially farmers," he said.
Highlighting the promises made by the Congress to the people of Chhattisgarh, Chidambaram said: "The government will procure 20 quintals of paddy per acre. Outstanding agricultural loans will be waived. The Congress government will conduct a caste census, Rs 4000 annual incentive to tendu leaf collectors, Rs 10 additional MSP for minor forest produce, no fees in government schools and colleges from KG to PG and landless agricultural labourer will get Rs 10,000 as annual financial assistance."
He said that these announcements will be part of the Congress Manifesto.
He also urged the people of Chhattisgarh to vote for the Congress and said: "We promise another five years of impressive economic growth, all round prosperity particularly of the agriculture sector and farmers, welfare of women and children, special initiatives for the SC and ST communities, focused attention to education and health, creation of jobs for the youth, and peace and security to all sections of the people."
Polling for 90 member assembly is scheduled on November 7 and 17 and counting of votes will take place on December 3.