Statement Issued by Smt. Priyanka Chaturvedi, Spokesperson, AICC
March 8, 2017
On the behalf of Indian National Congress, we express our gratitude to millions of unsung and faceless women who have shown their sheer grit and resilience and strived to make this world a more equal place. Modern societies and governments have been at pains to bridge the gap between genders and make it a level playing world. However, there is a lot that still needs to be done in order to achieve this. A small step in that direction was recently attempted by, Congress MP Ms. Sushmita Dev, who wrote to Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley requesting to exempt taxes on sanitary napkins. After the implementation of GST, this essential commodity is expected to be taxed at 14%. Although insignificant in appearance it will address the key issues of affordability, hygiene and environment. Congress Party fully supports this cause and we believe that removal of this tax and making sanitary napkins tax free will in help overcoming a physical obstacle that women face during their menstrual cycle. (Please Check Annexure A1 for the aforesaid letter)
One of the solemn promises of Narendra Modi Government was to provide safety and security and self respect to the women of this country. Unfortunately, Shri Modi and Shri Amit Shah, have used this plank of women safety only as a crutch for politicking, rather than making any tangible difference to their cause. On the occasion of Womens Day, we would once again like to set the record straight:
Shri Modi and Shri Shah should tell the nation – whether BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh records the highest number incidents of Rapes in the country? According to National Crimes Record Bureau (NCRB) Data- Number of Rapes recorded in Madhya Pradesh is 4,391 per year. BJP ruled Maharashtra comes a close second- with 4,114 rape incidents recorded per year. Third comes, BJP governed Rajasthan- who has a woman Chief Minister- but records 3,644 rape cases.
In crimes of 'eve teasing of women and girls and molestation' – BJP ruled Maharashtra leads the pack with 11,713 reported crimes. BJP ruled Madhya Pradesh is ranked a dubious second in such crimes with the reported number at 8,049. There are several such stark statistics which should wake up the BJP Government from its apathy and deliberate insensitivity on this important issue.
On Women's Day we would like the Prime Minister to take these two simple steps:
- Please write to all the BJP Chief Ministers and send an appropriate advisory so that they can take steps in order to provide adequate security and safety to women.
- Please 'unfollow' those people who abuse, intimidate threaten women with rape on Social Media.
Withdraw the Order Making AADHAAR Mandatory for Social Benefits
Related to the matter of women are children of this country and their well being should be of paramount importance to any Government. The Indian National Congress had earlier objected to the government's decision to make AADHAAR mandatory for children being served Mid Day Meal. Instead of withdrawing this draconian order which snatches the meal from the plates of 14 Crore Children daily, this heartless Government has only clarified that "till the time the children do not get their AADHAAR numbers, they would be served their Mid Day Meals on the basis of other relevant documents” (Attached Annexure A2) Shri Modi who daily makes long speeches about his Government is committed to the welfare of the poor is now making a veiled attempt to endanger social security schemes in the garb of AADHAAR.
Now media reports reflect that AADHAAR will be made mandatory for compensating Bhopal Gas Tragedy victims. This is height of heartlessness, insensitivity and indifference. The Supreme Court of India, has already said on record that AADHAAR should not be the only criteria for providing benefits to citizens when it comes to avail social schemes.
We would like to once again, urge the Modi Government to reconsider their decision on making AADHAAR mandatory for Social Welfare Schemes like the ICDS, Mid Day Meal and Compensation to Victims of Tragedy and Natural Disasters. This would only make these important welfare schemes toothless and adversely impact the beneficiaries of the scheme. We understand that Modi Government wants to reduce the budgetary allocation for such schemes- but is unable to overtly announce those, hence it is attacking the functioning of these welfare schemes through such mindless decisions of making AADHAAR mandatory.
BJP President of Arunachal Pradesh, caught with Rs 10.5 Lakh
While the long electioneering in all the 5 states is coming to end today, polling will come to end for the final phase of voting in Uttar Pradesh and Manipur. We would like to thank the innumerable voters for participating in the festival of Democracy. We thank the Election Commission, Security Personnel's and every other Institution for conducting a peaceful election and doing their job with honesty. But we would like to underline an incident which took place at Guwahati Airport yesterday. The BJP President of Arunachal Pradesh, Shri Tapir Gao was caught red handed by security personnels, on his way from campaigning in Manipur with a stash of Rs 10.5 Lakh in new currency notes.
This is not an isolated incident, where BJP leaders and office bearers have been caught violating laws and huge amount of cash has been seized from them.
- Over all Rs 110 crore cash had been seized in the only first 3 phases of Uttar Pradesh. It needs to be checked how much of it belongs to the BJP.
- In one district of Gorakhpur alone, BJP's local unit reportedly bought 250 bikes for election campaign.
- On November 18, 2016- Rs 92 lakh in cash seized from BJP minister Subhash Deshmukh's vehicle in Maharashtra
- BJP leader Manish Sharma arrested in Bengal with Rs 33 lakh in new Rs 2,000 notes
- Earlier, during Demonetisation- Rs 500 crore was deposited in the head office of the ADC Bank, in which the BJP president Amit Shah is a director, within three days of the demonetisation announcement.
In smaller states like Goa, Uttarakhand and Manipur- BJP huge amount of money in advertising in newspapers, television ads, radio, and outdoor billboards. Shri Modi, who takes a high moral ground while talking about probity and transparency in public life, must tell the people of India- Where do funds for such massive campaigns come from?