Cong MPs pooh pooh initiatives revealed by Modi in his I-Day speech, say it is a rehash of their party schemes

New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement during his Independence Day speech of Sansaad Adarsh Gram Yojana to develop model villages, and his appeal to parliamentarians to spend funds on building toilets in schools enthused some MPs as ‘good suggestions’, but Congress parliamentarians said it was rephrasing of UPA initiatives.

Modi, in his speech from the ramparts of Red Fort on Friday, said that biggest obstruction to development of national character was the filth ‘seen all around us’. He called for public participation to make every village and city clean by 2019.

Modi said a reason behind girls dropping out from schools in some rural areas was lack of separate toilets. He also referred to women being forced to defecate in open due to lack of toilets.

Modi urged MPs to use funds in Member of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) for one year for construction of toilets in the schools and said that no school should be left in the country without separate toilets for boys and girls by the next Independence Day.

He also announced a scheme named after the parliamentarians- ‘Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana’ (parliamentarian model village scheme) under which every MP needs to initially develop one village in his or her constituency into a model village. Modi said he would present the complete blue print of Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojana by Jayprakash Narayan’s Jayanti in October.

Nationalist Congress Party MP D P Tripathi said that Modi had come up with good ideas. “Modi in his extempore speech has made very practical suggestions. The clean India agenda does not need a loan from the World Bank,” Tripathi said.

He said that suggestions for building toilets in schools, and the Sansaad Adarsh Gram Yojana were very good. “It will send a good message. As for the scheme for MPs to develop model villages, people in neighbouring villages will also be inspired,” he said.

Congress MP from Ernakulam and former union minister K V Thomas said that Modi had rephrased some initiatives of United Progressive Alliance government.

Referring to the proposed model village scheme, Thomas said that “there were already way too many schemes for rural improvement which include initiatives to empower villages.”

“There is a large number of schemes available in that direction,” he said and noted that UPA government had worked consistently for rural empowerment. Asked about Modi’s appeal to construct toilets in schools from MPLADS funds, Thomas said that “there was nothing new.”

Congress MP and Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad said that Modi’s speech was repackaging of UPA schemes.

“What Narendra Modi has been doing in last three months, and this speech, it is all re-announcement and repackaging of what UPA has done,” Azad said.

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