Bhubaneswar: Regional political outfit Utkal Bharat on Sunday demanded abolition of the subsidised Rs 2-a-kg rice scheme and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme.
Briefing newsmen here, president of Utkal Bharat Kharabela Swain said that both the state government-operated Rs 2-a-kg rice scheme and Centrally -funded MGNREGA scheme are basically populist and vote-oriented political strategies.
He alleged that though the state and the Centre have launched the two schemes on the plea of eradicating poverty, in realty these long-term programmes are instrumental in expanding the poverty base. Due to the implementation of the schemes, the poor workers are becoming lazy while farmers and middle class people have been adversely affected.
The concurring effect has led to rise in prices of food stuffs throughout the country, he said.
Announcing that Utkal Bharat, if it comes power, would stop the Rs 2-a-kg rice scheme and, instead, provide cash assistance to poor and BPL families, Swain said that the MNREGA since its operation was a faulty scheme having turned to be a national loot scheme like the Loan Mela introduced by late Rajiv Gandhi.
On the political situation in the State and the functioning of the BJD government, Swain alleged that the 10 years of the Naveen Patnaik regime has effected a negative growth and the state remains in the 17th position as far as governance is concerned.
While the number of BPL people has increased by around 40 per cent, highest in the country, the Government has failed in all sectors, he observed. The BJD and Naveen Patnaik have pushed the state to the brink of beggary by raising the bogey of Central neglect.
Besides, the so-called transparency of Naveen Patnaik has been exposed by so many scams, he said.
On the other hand, while the BJP is now a party bereft of ideology and leaders, the Congress is not able to wriggle out of the stigma of corruption, he said and claimed that his party has been formed to become the alternative political force to the BJD.
Among others, party vice-presidents Suresh Bose, Rajendra Dalbehera, Surendranath Jena and Bichitrananda Sahoo, general secretary Bratati Chatterjee and Bishnudatta Arya also spoke.