With campaigning for the Lok Sabha elections beginning to gain momentum, Congress has released a booklet on the achievements of the United Progressive Alliance government to arm the party leaders and the cadre with facts and figures to counter the opposition.
"This is a kind of primer, a ready reckoner on what we have done in the last five years. It will help our leaders and workers deflect opposition charges," a senior Congress leader said in New Delhi.
In the preface of Achievements of the Congress-led UPA government, party president Sonia Gandhi has referred to
various programmes and initiatives of the UPA government which it claimed catalysed the success of the government.
These include National Rural Employment Guarantee Aact, Right to Information, commitment of the government towards the rights of the minorities, loan waiver to the farmers, increased allocation of resources to the states, Bharat Nirman programme, Tribal Rights Act and strengthening of educational infrastructure among others.
"Large allocations of budgetary resources on a consistent basis have been made available to ensure benefit to all
sections of society," Gandhi said in the booklet. Referring to the Right to Information Act, she said it was for the citizens to take advantage of it and ensure that each and every paisa of these development funds is fully accounted for.
The 54-page booklet touched all aspects of the country's economy and social sector on which the government focused in the last five years and compared them with the progress made during the previous NDA government.
As farmers constitute a major chunk of the voters in the country, the booklet claimed that the outlay for agriculture
and irrigation increased three-fold in the 11th plan and the minimum support price for wheat and rice has been increased
considerably in the UPA regime.
For the middle-class voters, the booklet said the personal income tax exemption limit has been hiked and consumer goods made cheaper with reduction of Central taxes. The booklet also talked about the benefits which various other sections, including minorities, SC/ST, youth, women and children, senior citizens, ex-servicemen and unorganised sector workers have got under the UPA regime.
The party also cited the declaration of Mahatma Gandhi's birthday on October 2 as the 'International Day of Non-violence' by the United Nations in July 2007 as its achievement saying, "It is due to the initiative and untiring efforts of Congress President Sonia Gandhi".
Gandhi asked the party workers to use the document, which is being distributed to the party offices all over the country, as a ready reckoner on the performance of the government.