Congress slams BJP for being 'against welfare schemes' Seeking to paint the BJP as anti-poor, Congress on Wednesday alleged that the saffron outfit wanted to disband the welfare schemes started by the UPA government. Congress said schemes like job guarantee and food security were aimed at extending the welfare net to the poor by providing them with work and cheap foodgrains but BJP leaders found this expenditure wasteful. AICC spokesman Randeep Surjewala played the clip of a television debate to reporters in which BJP spokesman Piyush Goyal says that "MGNREGA has made the people impotent and not working". Saying that Goyal was the chief spokesman and treasurer of BJP, Surjewala said, "While we condemn it in the strongest possible words, we expect leaders of BJP to tender an unconditional apology to people of this country for this completely unbecoming conduct." The Congress leader said the pro-poor schemes had brought about unprecedented improvement in human development indicators and cited that life expectancy had increased by five years (men: 62.3 years to 67.3 years; women: 63.9 years to 69.6 years) while infant and maternal mortality rate had come down over the last 10 years. He added that MGNREGA had generated 1,575 crore mandays of work. Surjewala said while a push for improving the lives of the poor showed the commitment of the Congress, the BJP leaders had a negative mindset. "Narendra Modi and Rajnath Singh should explain the BJP's position," he said. The Congress bid to paint BJP as anti-poor stems from the desire to renew the appeal of the welfare schemes. The failure of the schemes to fire in the recent assembly elections for Congress has raised fears that the heavy political investment over 10 years may not bring dividends in the 2014 elections. However, Congress thinks that the rural poor can be polarized if the BJP and Modi, with their pro-industry, anti-sop outlook, come across as being against the inclusive policies. Surjewala's offensive, with the help of the video of a TV debate, betrayed the anxiety to seize upon the opening provided by the comments of the BJP leader. Congress may up the ante on the issue in the coming days. "The statement (of Goyal) reflects the mindset of BJP that seeks to shut down all such welfare schemes and deny crores of people access to livelihood. It is an insult to the entire nation," he said. Congress slams BJP for being 'against welfare schemes' - The Times of India ************************************************************** If these welfare schemes honestly reached those for which they are being implemented, then these schemes would have made sense for those who are supposed to be the beneficiaries. It is said that much of it is used to garner political patronage of the political party in power in the State. If correct, then the scheme is merely an eyewash and is being seen as one. Because of this, those for whom it is intended, initially the hopes rise high and when they crash, it leads to immense bitterness and people feel that it is better to not have those schemes than have them to benefit those who do not deserve them, but have the right political connection. Therefore, such populist schemes have no meaning at the end of the day. Hence, it is better to have schemes that have incentives that are linked on the result produced by the beneficiary. That woudd ensure that people work, and if people work, then they have satisfaction and results benefits the Nation. Schemes not thought through and announced for populism with an eye on the vote, is an indication of being scatterbrained and being intelligence bereft.