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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Analysis: What's Babu's new economic policy?

Former chief minister and Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu has been talking about the alternative economic policy ever since he lost the State Assembly polls in May 2004. He spoke of the need for such a policy, both at the national and the State fora. He even went to the extent of saying that he would incorporate the alternative economic policy as the election agenda of the so-called third front.

And what is this alternative economic policy? Has it something new to offer? People and political observers as also ruling Congress leaders have been waiting for Chandrababu Naidu to announce the policy. On Monday the policy finally came out of the bag of Chandrababu Naidu. But it were the hands of senior TD leader T Devendar Goud which released the alternative economic policy.

Just think it of yourself and find out whether it is really "alternative".

The highlights of the policy:

1. Supply of Rs 2 a kg rice to the poor. The only alternative here is the promise to supply good quality rice.

2. Supply of LPG or natural gas to homes through pipeline. This proposal has been pending for ages. What is the new alternative here, the TD has to offer: instead of "through pipeline" the TD has used the termed "piped gas supply".

3. Supply of mid-day meal scheme to students. The scheme is already in vogue. The alternative here is, extension of the scheme up to class X. Another alternative here is supply of a glass of milk along with the plate meal.

4. Formation of pay revision commission for government employees. It is the statutory duty of the government to increase the wages of its employees at regular intervals. It is not a favour. It is also not something alternative to the existing economic policy. What has the increase in salaries of government employees, who hardly number three lakhs, to do with the economic policy of the government? The TD has no answer.

5. Separate department for welfare and increase in budgetary allocation to Rs 1000 crore for minorities and other disadvantaged communities.

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