UPA government has failed to pass muster, securing a mere
30-per cent marks in its performance in a hard-hitting
''people''s report'' released to the media on Thursday. The
report says that the UPA government is not just ignoring
but violating the mandate of the people that brought it
A day after the UPA counted its achievements in improving
social and economic conditions, the people''s report, based
on a survey from 500 grassroots and development organisations
across 20 states, gave the UPA government an aggregate
of 30 per cent on achievements in education, health, employment,
social exclusion (caste, gender and religion), decentralisation
through panchayats and peace and security.
"We have been reviewing UPA''s promises made in its
common minimum programme (CMP) for the last three years
and nothing has changed," said Amitabh Behar, convenor,
Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (don''t break your promise
campaign), a coalition of 900 development and grassroots
organisations from across the country, which produced
the people''s report. "Largely, the people are angry
and discontented." The guiding principle of the CMP
was socially inclusive and regionally balanced economic
"Our rich art and cultural tradition will survive
only if our people our children are healthy,
educated, fruitfully employed and socially well-adjusted,"
said well-known Bharatnatyam dancer and Padma Shri recipient,
Geeta Chandran, releasing the report card. "I have
endorsed this campaign because for me its an artist''s
prayer for equity, equality, opportunity, inclusion, justice
and sensitivity." Chandran was accompanied by 20
school-going and non school-going children representing
lakhs of children campaigning for fulfillment of the promise
of 9 per cent budgetary increase in public education and
In her budget analysis, Yamini Misra, member, committee
of women economists, and supporter of the campaign, showed
the UPA had to go beyond some high-profile schemes and
''feel good'' financial allocations.
education, for instance, the UPA has used the education
cess as a substitute for increasing allocations. Adjusted
for the cess and external funds, the government''s contribution
to education has declined from 68 per cent in 2001-02
to 35 per cent in 2007-08. In health, the budget allocations
have remained almost stagnant at 0.3 per cent of the GDP.
national rural employment guarantee programme has generated
some employment 25 per cent to dalits, 37 per cent
to STs and 41 per cent to women - but the allocation for
the additional 130 districts is only Rs700 crores, compared
to Rs11,000 crore for the initial 200 districts. In agriculture,
investments have declined from 2.2 per cent of GDP in
2000-01 to 1.9 per cent in 2005-06. Subsidies have remained
"Lack of basic services like primary education, health,
water and sanitation is increasing inequality and delaying
the formation of a strong human capital," said B.
Muralidharan, member, Wada Na Todo Abhiyan steering committee.
"The government cannot deny fundamental rights citing
fiscal and administrative expediency."
Ashok Bharti, member, steering committee, said the government
was talking about universalisation of education and health,
yet its schemes and monies continued to exclude people
on the basis of caste, gender and religion. "In 32
districts, literacy is below 30 per cent for scheduled
castes and in 80 districts, for scheduled tribes. Education
has become a privilege for the poor and the excluded,
rather than a right under the Constitution," he said.