Congress Lok Sabha MP Gaurav Gogoi on Wednesday alleged that Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is following his Uttar Pradesh counterpart Yogi Adityanaths proposed population policy which he described as “unscientific and outdated”. Sarma had recently said the state government will gradually implement a policy, which will enable families with not more than two children to avail benefits under certain state government schemes.
The chief minister is not looking within the state, even in rural areas, where a lot of changes have taken place over the years but he is blindly following Yogi Adityanath”s proposed policy in Uttar Pradesh which can in no way be applied to Assam, Gogoi said at a press conference here. “Sarma is talking about an unscientific and outdated concept as the mindset of people have changed, education and health facilities have improved and the rate of population increase has declined over the years”, he said. The chief minister must adopt a scientific temperament and if he takes measures to ensure education, health facilities for all, and empower women, there will be no need for a separate population policy, the party MP from Kaliabor said. “They may have made the right diagnosis for the disease (increase in population) but the prescription they have adopted is wrong. They should discuss with us as the nation”s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru had always advocated a scientific approach in dealing with various issues”, he said. It was due to Nehru”s farsightedness that IITS, AIIMS, and other scientific and research organisations were established in the country for which India continues to receive accolades across the world, he added. The Assam chief minister had said that the proposed population control policy would not be applicable on all schemes in the state immediately as many of the benefits are offered by the central government. On the microfinance loans issue, Gogoi alleged that the chief minister has “committed a fraud with women of the state”. “During the assembly election campaign, the BJP leaders did not say anything about the conditions which would be made applicable but now they are talking about the eligibility criteria for loan waiver. They have cheated poor women and how will they assess who can repay the loans when most are reeling under the impact of the COVID and loss of livelihoods”, he said.
Irrigation Minister Ashok Singhal had recently suggested the loan amount will not be waived if availed after December 31, 2020, or it turned into NPA, family income is more than Rs 1 lakh, any member pays income tax and owns a car.
Leader of the Opposition Debabrat Saikia had demanded that the state government remove all pre-conditions and waive the loans to give relief to poor women, as part of the BJP”s poll assurance. The Congress does not want to do “politics on the issue but as an opposition party we have the responsibility to make the BJP accountable to people and will therefore help the affected women to raise their voice and take appropriate action against the government”, he said. Referring to the recent resignation of Rupjyoti Kurmi from the Congress to join the BJP, Gogoi said that the saffron party is only interested in “silencing the opposition so that they can continue with their illegal activities and syndicates. “The BJP wants to silence all, whether it be politicians, students or journalists, who question the party for its wrong policies and actions but the Congress will continue to raise the voice and concerns of the people in the state”, he said. The BJP wants a “silent or an absent opposition and to end democracy by intimidating their opponents but we will not let this happen”, Gogoi added. Asked about a change in the party leadership, he said that after the assembly elections, a high-level committee was set up to examine all issues, and discussions were held with the state leadership on the strengths and weaknesses and how to move forward by preparing a road-map for the future. “The report has been submitted to the AICC leadership and we have been asked to concentrate on helping the people who have been severely affected by the COVID and the consequent lockdown,” Gogoi said. PTI