RAIPUR: If statistics are any indication, AICC president, Sonia Gandhi's speechwriters may have goofed up by giving incorrect information about poverty levels and implementation of centrally sponsored, MGNREGA, in Chhattisgarh in their apparent zeal to .
Addressing a rally at Kondagaon on Thursday, Sonia, besides stating that poverty levels in the state had increased, questioned the implementation of MGNREGA scheme by claiming that it had failed to check migration from the state.
However, the Union government's own data from the Planning Commission shows that in Chhattisgarh the number of people below poverty line have decreased by almost 9.5% in the past eight years. According to the data released by (NSSO), as compared to 49.1% of people being below the poverty line in the state in 2004-05, the figure of 2011-12 was 39.9%.
Incidentally, BJP has been in power in the state since 2003. If one compares this to Delhi, where the Congress has been at the helm for a decade, poverty levels have fallen merely by 3.2%. As against 13.1% in 2004-05, 9.9% people were below the poverty line in 2011-12.
Incidentally, in some other Congress ruled states, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland (Cong+NPF+Left alliance), the number of people below the poverty line have increased. While in Arunachal Pradesh the increase has been to the tune of 3.6%, it's been 5.1 in Mizoram and 9.9% in Nagaland.
of JL Bhardwaj, Retd. HOD (Economics), Pt, Ravi Shanker Shukla University, said Sonia's statement is incorrect as shows a clear decline.
Talking full advantage of Sonia's statement, senior BJP leader, Arun Jaitley, on Saturday accused her of "lying" to mislead people. He in fact claimed that poverty had declined in "double digits" in Chhattisgarh during the BJP regime.
As regards the implementation of MGNREGA, this year Chhattisgarh was awarded, for the second time in row, for "exemplary performance" in implementing the scheme. The Naxal-infested Kanker district was in fact selected by Centre for the award for successful implementation of the scheme for fiscal 2011-12.
In fact, Chhattisgarh along with West Bengal also emerged as the top state in implementing the MGNREGA for the disabled. While West Bengal provided work to 29,714 disabled people in 2009-10, Chhattisgarh was on the second place with 13,763 employments.
According to information on MGNREGA's website, there has been increase in the household incomes in the Left Wing Extremist (LWE) areas of Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh due to implantation of the scheme. The state has also witnessed an increase in agricultural wages in LWE areas as a result of its implementation.
According to the Poorest Areas Civil Society (PACS), India, which works with civil society organizations to help poor groups claim their social rights and entitlements, a study of implementation of MGNREGA in 2007 revealed that the Chhattisgarh had "performed well" with 90.4% of registered household getting job cards.