One in four central schemes named after Rajiv Gandhi

Discussion in 'Politics & Society' started by Ray, Oct 29, 2013.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    One in four central schemes named after Rajiv Gandhi


    With 16 out of 58 central government schemes named after former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and several more after other members of the Nehru-Gandhi family, a disproportionate number of the country's social welfare schemes is named after prominent Congress leaders, that too from just one family. True, the Congress has been in government for the longest period of time since Independence and, therefore, is the author of a majority of the welfare schemes. But the motive behind naming most of them after the party's first family goes beyond just social welfare. It represents a clear attempt at perpetuating the cult of certain political personalities.

    This naming tradition is intrinsically linked to the patronage culture that unfortunately defines Indian politics. Instead of being viewed as instruments of socio-economic uplift, the schemes are treated as generous largesse from benevolent rulers of the country - when in fact they are funded by the Indian taxpayer. Such misplaced priorities are precisely the reason why a large number of the schemes underperform and attract allegations of corruption. Besides, even if we agree to the logic behind naming welfare schemes after well-known personalities, there's no reason why the Nehru-Gandhi family should have its stamp on a majority of them. The country has produced several stalwarts in various fields to allow for a more non-political naming tradition.

    Critics may point to the international practice of naming roads after famous personalities. But welfare schemes have a far greater humanitarian impact. It is specifically to guard against political one-upmanship and rivalry that such schemes have a functional naming convention abroad. It is highly patronising for one political family - or even many politicians from diverse parties - to take credit for these taxpayer-funded schemes. This patronage culture must end.
    COUNTERVIEW

    Nothing wrong with respecting icons

    Taken out of context, the fact that so many of our central schemes are named after stalwarts of the Nehru-Gandhi family could indeed seem self-serving. And likewise the broader fact that the majority of these schemes are named after politicians. But there are solid reasons for this naming scheme. In the Indian milieu, politicians such as Jawaharlal Nehru, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi have long since outgrown the boundaries of their profession. They are socio-cultural icons, looming large in public consciousness decades after their deaths. And in many cases, the schemes that are named after them are linked to their social and economic visions. Why, then, is there anything wrong withgiving added visibility and heft to central schemes by using their names?

    There are other, more pragmatic - and perfectly understandable - reasons as well. The Indian public is, by and large, not parti-cularly well educated about the details of such schemes and whose initiative they might be. Given this, it's common for state governments to try and take the credit for central schemes. Keeping in mind the electoral benefits that successful schemes can bring, it would be folly for whichever government is in power at the Centre to hand them over to the state on a platter. Thus, the naming convention is a convenient shorthand for informing the public of who is truly responsible for the scheme.

    Incidentally, it would be a mistake to think that this is something peculiar to India. Political figures are venerated in this manner the world over. The US, for instance, might not name government schemes after them, but there are any number of Washington avenues in honour of George Washington - or airports named after John F Kennedy and Ronald Reagan. And Charles de Gaulle is similarly honoured in France. So why make a fuss about it when it's done here?

    One in four central schemes named after Rajiv Gandhi - Times Of India
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    How many schemes have been named after Sardar Vallabhai Patel?

    So, why is this sudden love for the Sardar, just because Modi is invoking the Sardar?

    What hypocrisy!

    What is the last count on schemes named after the Mahatma, Patel, vs the sole illustrious family of India, the Nehru - Gandhi conglomerate?

    Anyone has the figures?
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    ALL IN THE NAME OF THE NEHRU-GANDHIS
    by A. Surya Prakash
    In a planned and systematic effort to gain unfair advantage over other political parties, the Congress Party has named all major government programmes, projects and institutions in the country after three members of the Nehru-Gandhi family - Rajiv Gandhi, Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru – who are its icons, and disturbed the level playing field in the electoral arena.

    Over the last 18 years, on a rough estimate about 450 Central and State Government programmes, projects and national and state level institutions involving public expenditure of hundreds of thousands of crores of rupees have been named after these three individuals. While it is the prerogative of a government to name an institution after a person whom it considers to be a national or state leader, government programmes which have been initiated to ameliorate the lives of millions of citizens ( like drinking water, housing and employment guarantee schemes and old age pensions) fall into an entirely different category. If the nomenclature of these programmes is not politically neutral, the sanctity of the democratic system would be in jeopardy.

    Among the big ticket programmes that have been cleverly named after members of this family by the Union Government to extract unjust electoral mileage is the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (rural electrification programme), which involves an outgo of Rs 28,000 crore during the Eleventh Plan period (Rs 5500 Cr in fiscal 2008-09).. The drinking water mission, with an allocation of Rs 21,000 crore over three years (Rs 7300 crore in 2008-09 and Rs 7400 Cr in 2009-10) is also named after him and is called the Rajiv Gandhi Drinking Water Mission. Other schemes, touching millions of people, which bear his name are the Rajiv Gandhi National Creche Scheme for Children of Working Mothers; the Rajiv Gandhi Udyami Mitra Yojana ( to promote small enterprises); the Rajiv Gandhi Shramik Kalyan Yojana and the Rajiv Gandhi Shilpi Swasthya Bima Yojana ( both insurance schemes).

    Likewise, there are many mega programmes named after Indira Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru by the Centre. For example, there is Indira Awas Yojana. The budgetary allocation for this programme to house the poor is Rs 7919.00 Cr in 2008-09 and Rs 7914.70 Cr in 2009-10. Also named after her is the Indira Gandhi National Old Age Pension Scheme (Rs 3443 Cr in 2008-09). Progrmmes named after Jawaharlal Nehru over the last two decades are the Jahawarlal Nehru Rojgar Yojana and the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission. The Rojgar Yojana, which later metamorphosed into Jawaharlal Gram Samruddi Yojana was meant to provide employment to millions of unemployed citizens. The Union Government proposes to spend Rs 50,000 Cr over seven years on the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission. (allocation of Rs 10447.98 Cr in 2008-09 and 10713.84 Cr in 2009-10).

    Similar Trend in States
    This trend is even more apparent in the states, which have vied with each other to name programmes and schemes after these three members of the Nehru-Gandhi Family whenever the Congress Party was in power. Here is a sample: Rajiv Gandhi Breakfast Scheme, Pondicherry; Rajiv Ratna Awas Yojana, Delhi; Rajiv Arogyasri Health Insurance scheme, Andhra Pradesh; Rajiv Gandhi Computer Literacy Mission, Assam; Rajiv Gandhi Bridges and Roads Infrastructure Development Programme, Haryana; Rajiv Gandhi Vidyarthi Suraksha Yojana, Maharastra; Rajiv Gandhi Tourism Development Mission, Rajasthan; Indira Kranthi Patham Scheme and Indira Jeevitha Bima Pathakam, Andhra Pradesh; Indira Gandhi Niradhar Yojana and Indira Gandhi Landless Agriculture Labour Scheme, Maharastra; Indira Gandhi Priyadarshini Vivah Shagun Yojana, Haryana; Indira Gandhi Calf-Rearing Scheme, Andhra Pradesh.

    A perusal of these programmes and schemes shows a systematic attempt by the Congress Party to name every government programme concerning every citizen – man ,woman, child; every possible circumstance in the life of every citizen – child bearing, child rearing, education of children, food, education of youth, employment, marriage, unemployment, destitution, handicap; and every possible challenge flowing out of lack of infrastructure – drinking water, electricity and housing after just three members of this political family who are icons of the Congress Party.

    Obviously, the plan is to ensure maximum recall of Brand Congress among voters at every stage in life. Therefore, nothing is left out. The crèche for children of the working poor is named after Rajiv Gandhi. So is a breakfast scheme for poor children. The parents need to remember him for a host of other reasons – rural drinking water, rural electrification or scholarships. Indira Gandhi comes in when the poor want a house subsidized by the government and you think of Nehru when urban renewal programmes come into play. The Congress Party has taken its obsession with this family to such an extent that even calf-rearing schemes are named after them. Shockingly, even Brand IIM had been tinkered with. While all institutes of management started by the Centre go under the IIM brand, the Congress Party has mischievously named the IIM is Shillong as the Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management.

    The list of 450 government programmes, schemes, institutions etc named after these three members of the Nehru-Gandhi family broadly fall into the following categories: Central government programmes and projects (12), State Government Programmes (52), Universities and Educational Institutions (98), Ports and Airports (6), Awards, Scholarships and Fellowships (66), Sports Tournaments, Trophies and Stadia ( 47), National Parks and Sanctuaries (15), Hospitals and Medical Institutions (39), National Scientific and Research Institutions, Chairs and festivals (37), Roads, Buildings and Places (74).

    EVEN KABADDI AND ROLLER SKATING
    Apart from violation of basic democratic norms and electoral law, the naming spree has crossed all limits of decency. Every major sports tournament has been named after the Nehru-Gandhis, as if no other nobody else matters, not even the greats in Indian Sports. Among tournaments named after Rajiv Gandhi are national and international tournaments in football, basketball, judo, roller skating, beachball, kabaddi, rural cricket, gymnastics, boxing, the Delhi Marathon and the Kerala Boat Race. If anything is left out, it has been named after Indira Gandhi and Nehru. The same pattern is repeated in major national parks, universities, fellowships and scholarships. Such is the obsession of Congress governments with this family that they name India’s biggest open university after Indira Gandhi and name fellowships granted there after Rajiv Gandhi. Similarly, the centre for advanced scientific research in Bangalore is named after Nehru and the science talent fellowships awarded there are named after Rajiv Gandhi. For long years we are all familiar with the Fullbright Scholarships. The Manmohan Singh government has ensured that this is now known as the Fullbright-Jawaharlal Nehru Scholarship! We are unlikely to see anything so gross even in dictatorships like in North Korea. (Entire List is in Annexure– I)

    This blatant attempt to package and market government programmes run on public money as munificent offerings from a single family to the people has made a mockery of the Model Code of Conduct drawn up by the Election Commission for observance by all political parties.

    I have therefore petitioned the Chief Election Commissioner on March 13, 2009 and requested him to immediately issue directions to the Union Government and to all the governments in the states and direct them to remove the names of individuals, who are seen by the people as icons of specific political parties, from all government programmes and schemes funded by the exchequer and to immediately give these programmes politically neutral names. Such a direction from the Election Commission will ensure enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct in letter and spirit and will also be in consonance with the various directions and instructions issued by the Commission from time to time.

    WHERE IS THE MAHATMA ?
    Such is the obsession of the Congress Party with three members of the Nehru-Gandhi family that even the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi has been virtually forgotten. The Congress Party’s contempt for Mahatma Gandhi is best explained by the fact that just one central scheme – the Mahatma Gandhi Backward Region Development Fund- has been named after him. Even this tokenism has come as an after thought only in 2007, almost 60 years after the Mahatma’s assassination. On the other hand, schemes to promote rural electrification, drinking water, crèche for children and micro and small industries in rural areas ( each of which was close to the heart of the Mahatma) are all named after Rajiv Gandhi. Again, the scheme to build houses for the rural poor (something that would have made the Mahatma proud) is named after Indira Gandhi, as also the national old age pension scheme. Yet another programme which ought to have been named after the Mahatma - the greatest Indian of the 20 th Century- is the Rozgar Yojana which guarantees 100 days of work for the rural unemployed all over the country. Even this programme was initially named after Jawaharlal Nehru as also the Urban Renewal Mission (annual budgetary allocation of over Rs 10,000 Crores).

    Equally glaring is the omission of many other eminent Indians including Sardar Vallabhai Patel, India’s first Deputy Prime Minister who undertook the arduous task of integrating 563 princely states into a single nation and Dr.B.R.Ambedkar, who presided over the committee that drafted our Constitution and embedded basic values of democracy and social justice. No central programmes have been named after them. Such is the Congress Party’s determination to name every scheme after members of the Nehru-Gandhi family that even the National Fellowship Scheme for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe students is named after Rajiv Gandhi and not Dr.Ambedkar, the man who waged a relentless battle to better the lot of the Dalits in India. There are hundreds of other leaders belonging to various political shades who have made an invaluable contribution to the building of India, but not a single central government programme is named after any of them. The list of those ignored is a pretty long one. They include Rabindranath Tagore, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, Bal Gandadhar Tilak, Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, Sarojini Naidu, Jayaprakash Narayan, Acharya Vinoba Bhave, C.Rajagopalachari, Rajendra Prasad and every other stalwart of the freedom movement. Also ignored are great saints like Aurobindo and Swami Vivekananda; Social reformers like Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Mahatma Phule; great scientists like C.V.Raman, Homi Bhabha, Vikram Sarabhai and Narlekar and great patriots like Bhagat Singh and Chandrashekar Azad.

    While there are many examples of this kind in the states as well, the most glaring example, which raises a question is regard to free and fair election is the blatant advertisement of the Congress Party on the ambulances that provide emergency medical help all over Andhra Pradesh. These ambulances, which reach every village in the state in quick time, provide efficient integrated emergency services that cover medical emergencies, police and fire. The capital expenditure on each ambulance is Rs 10 lakh to Rs 16 lakhs and the running cost per ambulance is Rs 1.25 lakh per month. All this expenditure is borne out of public funds drawn from the Union and State accounts. Yet, it is made out as if these ambulances are a gift from the Congress Party to the people of the State because every ambulance carries a portrait of Rajiv Gandhi on both sides of the vehicle with the legend “Rajiv Arogyasri”. The Congress Party is drawing undue electoral advantage out of this programme, which is being made to look like a programme of a political party or a private donor. Gujarat too has ensured full coverage of all its 18080 villages by these ambulances. But it does not advertise these ambulances as some kind of largesse from the ruling party.

    GOVT SCHEMES MUST HAVE POLITICALLY NEUTRAL NAMES
    Many years ago, when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was in power at the Centre, it launched the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. This nomenclature, as is obvious, is politically neutral. Several schemes launched by the present government in Madhya Pradesh also carry politically neutral names and are called Mukhya Mantri Yojanas. The Election Commission ought to commend this model to all governments in the larger interests of democracy and to ensure fair and objective conditions for all political players.

    Part VII of the Model Code of Conduct drafted by the Election Commission says “the party in power whether at the Centre or in the State shall ensure that no cause is given for any complaint that it has used its official position for the purposes of its election campaign”. It prohibits ministers from misusing official machinery “in furtherance of the interest of the party in power”. They are not to issue advertisements at the cost of the public exchequer or do anything “which may have the effect of influencing the voters in favour of the party in power”. In other words, the Code prohibits a party in power from using its “official position” for its election campaign and this includes anything associated with government – vehicles, personnel, propaganda. The key injunction is that nothing should be done which would amount to “influencing the voters in favour of the party in power”. If this be so, how can the commission possibly allow the ruling Congress Party to name schemes worth over Rs One Lakh Crores after just three members of a single family who are icons of that political party?


    WHY IS THE ELECTION COMMISSION SILENT?

    It is surprising how such a glaring misuse of government machinery and public funds for partisan political purposes has not caught the attention of the Election Commission which has always displayed alacrity in disciplining political parties. Given the commission’s rigid and inflexible approach to even minor violations by other parties, should it not take immediate steps to correct the imbalance that the Congress Party has brought about through this Machiavellian device of naming all schemes and programmes after its icons?

    In fact, the commission has specifically stressed the importance of “a level playing field” among all political parties in several of its orders and decisions. It said so when a complaint was made against the Union Minister Mr.Arjun Singh in April, 2006. It said the government should not disturb “the level playing field among the political parties in the election arena”. It said persons in power should not only uphold the Code of Conduct “but should also be perceived to be doing so”. The question that now arises is that if every other government scheme or project is named only after icons of the Congress Party, how can the public “perceive” the ruling party to be upholding the Code?

    In yet another case involving the distribution of tourism department material in a New Delhi Assembly Constituency in November, 2003, the commission had pulled up the Union Tourism Minister Mr. Jagmohan for “misusing” government publicity materials.

    Equally relevant is the commission’s instructions dated November, 21, 2007 in which it directed all governments to strictly ensure that all references to politicians and ministers on the official website of the government should be deleted during the period of General Elections to the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies. It said individuals associated with a party should not eulogise government achievements “as personal achievements”. If that is so, how can thousands of crores of public money spent on government schemes be palmed off as gifts from a single party or worse, a single family, to the people?

    It would therefore be in the fitness of things if the commission issues a direction to the Union Government and all governments in the states to ensure that the nomenclature of all schemes and programmes is politically neutral and to delete the names of members of the Nehru-Gandhi family from these schemes immediately because of the unfair advantage that this offers to the Congress Party in the election arena. Since the schedule for the Lok Sabha election has already been announced, the Commission will have to issue this direction immediately and with the same alacrity it displayed in respect of other cases in the past.

    All in the Name of The Nehru-Gandhis - By A.Surya Prakash
     
  5. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Rajiv Gandhi in his short reign managed to screw up Punjab, Tamil Nadu and Kashmir. Why is he being celebrated ?
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Because he is a Gandhi.

    Let us thank God for small mercies that there is no schemes in the name of Vadra!
     

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