Shimla: Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram announced setting up a central university, an IIT and taking up the Bhanupali-Bilaspur railway line project in the state, and has loaded chief minister Virbhadra Singh’s government with issues that could propel it to retain power in the forthcoming assembly elections.
Addressing a well attended rally on the Ridge ground, the finance minister said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had asked him to announce the approval for setting up a fully funded central university as well as opening an IIT institute in the hill state. He said that the Bhanupali-Bilaspur railway line would be taken up as a time bound project. “Himachal by all accounts was one of the best administered states in the country,” said Chidambaram.
Chidambaram who was here in connection with launching of the ‘Aam Adami Bima Yojana’, a countrywide social security scheme, said that India was now a one trillion dollar economy and the world had begun to take notice. He said the government’s resources had grown with the growth of the nations economy and now resources were available for increasing the allocations for health, education and social security sectors.
With the economy expected to grow at pace of over 9 % for many years to come, the government was in a position to reach out to the poor and bring about social justice, finance minister P Chidambaram stated here.
“The union cabinet, only yesterday cleared a countrywide health insurance scheme and the government was in the process of expanding the old age pension scheme to all persons above 65 years of age and not just leave it for the destitute or the disabled. We are in a position to reach out to the poor and launch social security schemes, he said.
He said that the government in this financial year was spending Rs 14,300 crore on health and Rs 28,600 crore on education. The growth recorded in the first two years of the present government term was 8.6%, last year and reached a high of 9.4 %, last year. He said that for the government to reach out to the people, growth in manufacturing and services needs to take place first before social justice can be taken up.
Taking a dig at both the left allies and the BJP, he said that there were parties who were not in favour of growth and for some India was shinning. “India must shine for all, not just a select few,” said Chidambaram.
Oscar Fernandes, labour minister who was present on the occasion said that as 90 % of the labour force was in the unorganized sector, the social security scheme would give insurance cover to a large number of people. He said that 26 % of the country’s population continued to in poverty.
Talking about LIC, the finance minister said that it was the most precious jewel in India’s crown and it had been chosen to launch Aam Adami Bima Yojana scheme throughout the country. Himachal becomes the first state to adopt it.The scheme was a model of insurance for disability-cum-death, whereby the dependents or the disabled person would not be rendered financially distressed, he said.