Nothing new in president's speech: Opposition

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New Delhi, Feb 24: Opposition parties Tuesday said there was nothing new in President Pranab Mukherjee's address to a joint session of both houses of parliament Monday and the government was only trying to "repackage" old schemes.

"This (NDA) government is just interested in changing names of schemes, just labelling them again," Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge said in the Lok Sabha.

Pranab Mukherjee

Starting the debate from the opposition benches, Kharge accused the government of not working in a democratic manner.

"This way neither you (government) will benefit, nor will the country," he said.

Kharge said the government's flagship 'Swachh Bharat Mission' was same as the 'Nirmal Gram Abhiyan' floated by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

"You (NDA government) have just changed its labels," said Kharge.

Trinamool Congress MP Saugata Roy said the government has been "repackaging" most of the schemes.

"It (NDA government) has repackaged the planning commission without consulting states. It has discontinued the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission without consultation," he said.

Biju Janata Dal's Bhartruhari Mahtab said: "There was nothing new in the president's address."

Kharge said the government's claim of being pro-poor and pro-farmer have proved to be wrong with the dilution of the rural employment guarantee act.

"You keep claiming that much has been done for farmers. We had brought in (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act) MGNREGA for agricultural labourers. Till September 2014, you have given Rs.11,000 crore less for MGNREGA," he said.

He alleged that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has been trying to wind up the scheme.

"Earlier, four crore households benefitted. Now only 1.5 crore benefit," he said.

Kharge said the government's anti-farmer stance was evident in the amendment to the land bill. "Land acquisition act was passed by consensus. All BJP leaders had agreed to it. It was a joint effort," he said.

The Congress leader also attacked the government on the issue of religious intolerance. "An environment of intolerance has been created. Please try and stop it," he said.

IANS

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