Report card on three years of UPA rule Tuesday


New Delhi : With the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government completing three years in office May 22, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will be releasing a broad, performance-related report card to the people Tuesday.

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Although the prime minister has been unhappy with the progress in some areas like agriculture, and some reports have suggested that UPA leaders were not keen on a major celebration, the government will go ahead with the report card.

"The same format followed in the past two years will be followed this year also. It is no birthday party that there will celebrations. It is all about three years of governance," said Sanjaya Baru, media advisor to the prime minister.

"A comprehensive report card to the people on three years of UPA government will be released by the prime minister. It will state all the programmes and policies that have been implemented by this government," Baru told IANS.

"And just like last year and in 2005, there will be a dinner hosted by the prime minister for all UPA allies. Tell me, what else was done earlier, which is not being done now?" he queried.

Deepak Sandhu, director general for media and communications with the Press Information Bureau, said the document would be released in English, Hindi and all regional languages.

"This is exactly what was done by my department last year. So I don't understand what is a modest celebration or otherwise," she added, reacting to reports that the event to mark the three years was meant to be low-key affair.

Yet, the prime minister has been unhappy over the progress in some areas and had called for short-term plans and state-specific focus on agriculture, taking note of farmer suicides and saying poor farm growth was causing for "rural distress".

"I would only like to emphasise that whatever strategies we choose to adopt must deliver some results in the short and medium term so that tangible benefits are visible," he told a full meeting of the Planning Commission last week.

Some cabinet colleagues like Sports and Panchayati Raj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar have warned that the government needed a mid-point course correction as growth has benefited classes rather than the masses.

The report card also comes at a time when the UPA government wants to ward off criticism by its Left allies that its policies have failed to lift the agrarian economy, on which 70 percent of India's population still depends.

Even UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, while addressing the Congress parliamentary party meeting last week, was happy with some of the government's new schemes and policies. At the same time she wanted it to consolidate on its achievements.

"Our government has achieved a great deal," she said. "But we must consolidate on these accomplishments," she added, with an eye clearly on general elections due in two years and the setbacks in some assembly elections in recent months.