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Focus on welfare of poor: Narendra Modi tells BJP CMs

Shah, who addressed the one-day meeting of BJP CMs, deputy CMs and its presidents in these states, pointed out that the party rules over 51 per cent of the country’s landmass and 37 per cent of the population.

Written by Liz Mathew | New Delhi |
August 28, 2016 3:45:29 am
amit shah modi 759 Prime Minister Narendra Modi with BJP President Amit Shah at Chief Ministers conference in New Delhi on Saturday. (PTI Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked BJP-ruled states on Saturday to focus on “garib kalyan (welfare of poor)”, and said they should be a role model in execution of Central schemes targeted at the poor.

Addressing the first meeting of BJP chief ministers since he was elected to power in May 2014, held at Maharashtra Sadan here, Modi urged them to work on multiple fronts to develop their states at a fast rate.

“The Prime Minister asked us to work on mission mode,” Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, briefing the media after the end of the day-long meeting, also attended by deputy CMs and BJP presidents of states ruled by the party.

The meeting comes days after Modi and BJP president Amit Shah, who inaugurated Saturday’s session, also laid out the party’s “pro-poor and good governance” agenda at a meeting of core committees of state units.

The meetings follow criticism of the party and Central government for being anti-poor, and after incidents of atrocities against Dalits and violence by cow vigilante groups.

However, the BJP said that there was nothing political about Saturday’s meeting. “There was no reference to elections. This is the BJP’s tradition, to ensure the welfare of the poor. And the PM wanted us to work better and work more,” Chouhan said.

In his speech, the PM focused on better and effective implementation of welfare schemes launched by his government. The party announced a four-member committee, headed by Chouhan, to study the suggestions made at Saturday’s meeting on this, and to submit a report to Shah.

The panel includes Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis, Jharkhand CM Raghubar Das and Vinay Sahasrabudhe, in charge of the BJP’s National Good Governance Cell, which organised the conclave.

The PM said his government would give special attention to schemes like LPG for BPL families, that empower women, linking of Aadhaar to welfare programmes, implementation of the textile package, and distribution of LED bulbs. The PM also talked about the women medal winners at Rio Olympics.

Shah talked about “good governance”, “welfare of poor” and “development”, while asking the CMs to take up time-bound missions to implement the Centre’s schemes.

“The Prime Minister has started an era of politics of performance, a new Bharat. State governments of the BJP have been re-elected time and again on the basis of performance. It is the joint responsibility of the Central and state governments that we together build a pro-poor welfare state and change the life of the common man,” Shah was quoted as saying by Fadnavis, who addressed the media earlier in the day.

Shah pointed out that the party rules over 51 per cent of the country’s landmass and 37 per cent of the population. Of the 80 welfare schemes by the Modi government, 65 are to be implemented directly by state governments, he said. “So the states play a key role in the success of the BJP government’s policies,” the party president reminded the CMs.

Shah said the Modi government had ended the confusion of previous governments over whether to give priority to rural or urban India, reforms or welfare, small scale industry or big industries. It gave priority to all these fields, he said. “Without paying attention to vote bank concerns, we have implemented the reform agenda with firmness and also laid foundation for many welfare schemes to build a welfare state.”

“The country and the world can experience a new India,” Shah added. “States will have to play an important role in transforming the country. If we can bring change in states ruled by us, then a big part of the country can experience good governance.”

Fadnavis, who spoke after the inaugural session of the meeting, said they discussed how the poor, including SCs, STs and OBCs, could get jobs, education, medicine and employment.

“Apart from the Central schemes (and how to implement them), good programmes initiated by states were discussed. All the states made a presentation of their work and what they plan to do, especially in agriculture, woman empowerment and employment.”

All the BJP CMs except Vasundhara Raje attended the meeting. The Rajasthan CM, who is in Bhutan for a literature festival, was represented by her senior ministers.

The CMs’ meet was divided into six segments — the inaugural session, discussion on the agenda for welfare of poor, presentation by CMs of successful schemes that could be replicated in other states, a session on the presence of BJP governments on social media, a discussion on the challenges and efforts to fight them, and the concluding ceremony.

The CMs talked about arriving at a “common threshold”, which Fadnavis defined as a set of schemes which all party-rules states could roll out fully. “Some schemes will be selected and we will ensure that party-ruled states implement them 100 per cent, in a time-bound manner.”

Asked if there was a review of performance of BJP governments as regards the Centre’s schemes, Fadnavis said, “The BJP governments are doing very well. The targets are big and there is a big backlog also. So we have to do more.”

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