PM comes out in defence of UPA's economic policies

PM comes out in defence  of UPA's economic policies

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday defended his government, which came under strong attack from within on its certain economic policies, by stressing that people can counter price rise “as incomes for most people have increased faster than inflation”.

In what appears to be an admission of the shortcoming of the government’s publicity department as well as that of the party, Singh said, “I feel that the record of the UPA government over the past nine and a half years needs to be projected more effectively to the people”.

Addressing the meeting of the Congress Parliamentary Party on Wednesday, the first since the party’s humiliating defeat in the state elections, Congress president Sonia Gandhi also sought to put the blame of the recent electoral reverses on the party’s inability to communicate the achievements of the UPA to the electorate.

At a time when Gandhi singled out price rise as one of the reasons for the defeat, the prime minister pointed out that though concerns over inflation were legitimate, incomes for most people had also increased at a faster rate.

Singh also took a swipe at BJP leader Narendra Modi saying one should not talk of firm leadership and decisiveness without talking of what it would be used for and what decisions would be taken.

In her brief remarks, the Congress president said that the party was unable to convince the people of “our policies, programmes and achievements.”

“We have not, it seems, been able to fulfil their aspirations,” she said referring to the poll reverses in Rajasthan and Delhi where the Congress was in power. She bluntly told the party leaders that the losses in Rajasthan, Delhi and Chhattisgarh were because the party lacked a sense of discipline and unity.

She asked the leaders not to get diverted from the course the party has identified and prepare to take up the challenge of the Lok Sabha elections in May next year.

Gandhi kept her remarks short and allowed the prime minister to speak at length on the economic policies pursued by the UPA, which have come under sharp criticism from within a section of the party.

Singh circulated a booklet on the achievements of the UPA over the past 10 years at the CPP meeting and dwelt at length on the hike in agricultural growth, increase in rural wages, decline in poverty, the fall in infant and maternal mortality rates and the rapid strides in development of infrastructure.

“I feel that the record of the UPA government over the past nine and a half years needs to be projected more effectively to the people,” he told party leaders.

The prime minister admitted that inflation was an area of weakness for the government and pointed out that as consumers would want food prices to be low, those who produce food gain from higher prices.

“…it is much easier to blame the government than to understand them (issues). The worry about inflation is legitimate but we should recognise that incomes for most people have increased faster than inflation,” he said.

Singh wanted the party leaders to introspect on why the UPA got less credit for its achievements than they deserved.

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