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"UPA Government at Centre failed on several counts"

S.Rajendran

"It should work at evolving an independent economic policy"

BANGALORE: The former Prime Minister and the Janata Dal (Secular) president, H.D. Deve Gowda, has said that the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) Government at the Centre has failed on several counts irrespective of a person like Manmohan Singh heading it.

In an interview with The Hindu to mark the one-year rule of the UPA, which coincides with the one-year rule of the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition in the State, Mr. Deve Gowda said there is a striking contrast between the UPA Government and the one in Karnataka. "The Dharam Singh-led coalition is pro-people. We have set a target and have been studiously working towards that goal, and the Government will complete its tenure. There need be no doubt on that," he said.

He said there is no danger to the UPA Government although there is nothing remarkable about its performance in the first year. "It is a fact that there are differences not only among the UPA partners but also among some of the Congress Ministers. For instance, certain well-thought out policies proposed by one ministry are axed by another," he said. The unprecedented internal differences in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) came as a blessing in disguise for the UPA.

The Opposition is in disarray and this has helped the UPA. Apart from Dr. Manmohan Singh, the Finance Minister, P. Chidambaram; and the Deputy Chairman of the Planning commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia; should have done much more. The focus of the UPA should be on working at ways of alleviating the sufferings of farmers.

Karnataka was the first State to announce farm loans at a subsidised rate of 6 per cent to farmers. It is time the UPA focusses on farm-related issues.

It is unfortunate that the UPA Government has been indifferent to the requirements of the rural economy.

The "Bharat Nirman" programme has remained a slogan. It should be remembered that nearly 60 per cent of the population depends on agriculture, he said.

Mr. Deve Gowda said among the major achievements of the UPA Government has been the positive manner in which it has instilled confidence among the minorities.

The lurking fear of the minorities being attacked at least in some States is now a thing of the past. Another achievement of the Centre is better fiscal management.

The urban slums are on the increase and disparities in income have come to the fore. People from rural areas are into menial jobs in urban pockets while the rich are getting richer. While the Land Reforms Act had resulted in fragmentation of agricultural lands, the repeal of the Urban Land Ceiling and Regulation Act of 1976 has enabled the rich to own more and more valuable properties in urban areas.

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