Nahan, Mar 23 (UNI) The Congress today held its first public meeting here in Himachal Pradesh following its defeat in the assembly elections, lauding the UPA Government's decision to waive loans of farmers and implementation of National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) as its main achivement.
Addressing a public meeting here, Minister of state for External Affairs Anand Sharma said the waiver of the loans of the farmers of the central government was the ''biggest relief'' provided to the poor and the middle class farmers by any union government.
''The announcement has cleared once and for all the government's priority areas and was the biggest relief provided by any union government,'' he said.
Referring to the implementation of the NREGS, Mr Sharma said it would provided at least 100 days of employment to the rural poor in a financial year.
He said the scheme would benefit people below the poverty line to make both ends meet.
He criticised the Himachal Government for effecting 25 per cent hike in passenger fares in the state and said while the Railways had not increased its fares the state government had burden the poor by increasing the fares in a single go.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Dhawan lauded the UPA Government for its overall performance during the last four years under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Congress Legislative Party (CLP) leader Vidya Stokes, on the other hand, alleged that the present BJP state government had created a scare among the PTA teachers by declaring again and again that they would be removed.
''The previous government had set in place a mechanism to provide employment to the educated youth by providing employment at minimum wages that was mutually beneficial to them and the students.
However, it has unfortunate that the government was trying to snatch employment from them,'' she added.
HP Congress Committee (HPCC) president Viplove Thakur, former minister Sat Mahajan, party spokesman Kuldeep Rathore and several other party leaders were also present on the occasion.
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