Remarks of Congress Vice President Shri Rahul Gandhi at CMs Meeting held on 9th June 2015 at the AICC Headquarters
• I think the biggest issue facing our country today is that a lot of work that UPA did over the last ten years that transferred power from bureaucratic systems to the people- like our rights based paradigms- Right to Work, Right to Information, Right to Food etc are being systematically attacked.
• We are discussing whether the amount of money has been reduced in social welfare schemes but the real issue is not that the money has been reduced but the fact that the nature of the programmes has been questioned, challenged and is being systematically destroyed. MNREGA is a right based programme, RTI is a right based programme- that means if somebody demands it, the government has to give it. I think this is certainly being questioned. So whenever we see that, we must defend it.
• I believe that the most powerful asset that this country has is the genius and the capability of our people and the more power we give to them, in whatever way, the better India will do. This is fundamentally different from what our opposition believes. Our opposition believes in centralizing power and ensuring that one or two people run our country. If you look at all the successes of the Congress Party whether it is Green Revolution, White Revolution, Telecom Revolution, Bank Nationalization etc: all these programmes in one way or another, empowered people in large numbers.
• The BJP and the Prime Minister simplify MNREGA to say that we are simply giving free jobs to people. In fact, MNREGA completely transformed the rural economy over the last 5-7 years. A lot of the economic benefits that came from MNREGA, the benefits that came from creating a minimum wage have been simply ignored by them. • So one aspect is that we have to defend the right based paradigm, we have to defend decentralization. Second thing is in the states where we are in power, we demonstrate that we are following the basic Congress thought pattern, which is: we are decentralizing power, pushing power down to Panchayats, empowering people.
• We must also maintain a minimum level of performance. It should be felt that the nine Congress State Governments are the best performing Governments in the country.
• Over the last ten years, we developed a paradigm which was quite successful. The people benefited from it. Now we have to evolve this paradigm into a new set of ideas and large number of those ideas are going to come from our State Governments. They are going to come from the work that you are doing. So I think, it is important that we face the next election, with a new model, a new way of thinking about the future and I think the state Governments have a big role to play.
• Our states must also focus clearly on one or two programmes and showcase them as the best in the Country. Whether it is Education, PDS, or any other issue, everybody should say: yes the Government of Karnataka or the Government of Kerala is the best in this.
• I think the Chief Ministers here have great amount of wisdom, great amount of experience and they can guide us in developing such a paradigm. So I am looking forward to hearing what they have to say.