Reading about NAC is more a compulsion than a passion. Every time I read or write about it, I sacrifice my precious time and my mental desire to read about certain urgent spiritual requirements. For me, that is some serious sacrifice. It is not without a compelling reason.
Before we go a little further, I think I should spell out my biases. I call them biases because when they were formed, it was in the absence of any real experience.
- Foreigners, even when they choose to become Indian Citizens, cannot yet form a part of India’s Electoral Politics, let alone assume positions of leadership.
- It is firstly contrary to the very idea of Swa-Raj, one of the key objectives behind freedom struggle. Our Constitution may not have explicitly expressed such a restriction, but the fact that Constitution was finally adopted on the 20th Anniversary of Poorna-Swaraj Diwas, as a symbolic gesture, on 26th January 1950, is enough to respect this sentiment, implied within the existence of our Constitution.
- Even otherwise, the population of Indians of Foreign Origin is far too less, to require Politicial Representation, as such. And if that is yet required, one out of the two reserved seats in Lok Sabha, meant for Anglo-Indians, could be dedicated to them.
It is a different matter that Sonia Gandhi proved the wisdom in Swa-Raj simply through the disastrous performance, bordering on sell-out of the nation, complete & ruthless destruction of so many social aspects of India, over the last ten years, that it has become extremely necessary for us to understand in detail and share with our countrymen why the mistake of putting Indians of Foreign Origin in leadership position must be avoided at all costs.
Over and Above all this
It is also, however, important to understand that even from our Indian lot,
- If people with the Calibre, competence and ambition matching Sonia Gandhi emerge, our country will not survive the next decade
- Deceptive games of sacrifice & detachment from power, like the one played out many times by Sonia Gandhi, or in recent times by the likes of Arvind Kejriwal, should not be mistaken for honesty or ability to govern.
- Democracy is a serious game. If we want good governance, we must not only give up populist policies, but also learn to measure good governance.
Anyway, lets get back to the subject.
NAC – What Laws & Policies did they make?
We shall simply run through the list of NAC’s major Legislative & Policy-based Interventions
- Right to Information Act, 2005 – This was originally Freedom of Information Act, 2002, made by BJP. FOIA was in certain senses much better than RTI, as the Govt has to make certain amount of Information Voluntarily available to the Public. Therefore, in that sense, the threat to life for the “whistleblowers” was considerably lesser. However, the first Legislative Action of the NAC was RTI. There was nothing new. It was an existing act. Even if they wanted to improve the Law, on any count, they could have easily amended FOIA. But the fact they decided to Repeal FOIA and then instituted RTI, shows that it was aimed at giving undue credit to Sonia Gandhi for capabilities that didn’t exist in her.
- Rural Employment Guarantee Act – This is became Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act. This programme was originally run as Food for Work Programme under Rural Employment Guarantee schemes during BJP rule at the Centre. Even during UPA -1, in October 2004, Cabinet gave approval for National Food for Work Programme, a continuation of FWP during BJP rule. Food was replaced with money. Food became costly, and Rupee got devalued. Now you can judge for yourself what cruel joke was played out by NAC on Rural Unemployed Workers.
- National Rural Roads Program – This was originally Pradhan Mantri Grameen Sadak Yojana launched by Shri. Atal Behari Vajpayee in the year 2000. The value added by NAC was that they asked the Govt to divert more funds, which is still elusive
- Mid-day Meal Scheme – It is possibly one of the Oldest Schemes running in the Country whose delivery mechanism is yet to be perfected in this country. Seemingly started in 1925 by the British. Most of the scheme has been guided by Supreme Court Orders and in 2001, during BJP rule, the Nutritional Value of the Food provided received special attention. In April 2004, Supreme Court put a ban on recovery of Cost from students, which was left to be implemented by UPA Govt which took over in May 2004. The credit for the same was cleverly given to Sonia Gandhi-led NAC.
- Right to Education – The name itself is wrong. The actual name is Right of Children to Free & Compulsory Education Act. The draft of the same during BJP rule, in 2003, was called Free & Compulsory Education for Children Bill, 2003. You might wonder why 2003 and then what is Right to Education? Right to Education is a Fundamental Right that was originally part of the Directive Principles of the State Policy till 2002. BJP brought the 86th Constitutional Amendment and made is a Fundamental Right under Article 21-A.
- Watershed Development – Again, an old program of 70s era, of which Anna Hazare is considered a champion. This is basically a Water-harvesting programme implemented in the semi-arid areas of India, which were ignored by the Green Revolution. NAC’s primary value-addition to this programme was insistence on NGO-based implementation of these programmes.
- National Food Security Bill – This was originally a programme introduced by BJP called Antyodaya Anna Yojana. Launched on December 25, 2000 by Shri. Atal Behari Vajpayee, the scheme targeted 1crore poorest of poor families. A proper method of identification was undertaken and required Identity Cards issued. 5% of India’s population was served at a cost of Rs.2315cr only. So, on one hand inclusive program was run, on the other hand size was kept in control to ensure that Budget Deficits remained in control. The National Food Security Act pushed by NAC is basically a hugely defaced programmed targeting nearly 70% of Indian Population. One may wonder why? Is it because NAC is preparing for the future? Is the real Below Poverty Line at 70% of population today, or is it expected to be so in coming years?
- Protecting Women from Sexual Harassment at Workplace – This was added to Rape related Laws of India in 2013. The expected introduction of this Law seems to be the reason behind increased reporting of Rape Cases in Media, to create an atmosphere, that would bring urgency to its passage and “credits” to Sonia Gandhi for having done it. Interestingly, it is this Law that is screwing the happiness of Tarun Tejpal today. Lets credit Sonia Gandhi for this.
- Prevention of Communal & Targeted Violence Bill – If there was one Original Bill that NAC ever brought, it would be this. The Bill is the worst example of Minority Appeasement that Congress stoops to in India. In the name of addressing exceptional situations, Congress has prepared a General Law, that received Cabinet Approval last week, but could not be introduced in the Parliament. As per this Bill, the very co-existence of Hindu Community in this country with other minority denominations is looking difficult and could single-handedly become reason for not only a social divide between communities, but also another round of Partition in India. Instead of instilling confidence, sprouting love between communities using some common planks, Sonia Gandhi chose to divide the people and weaken the social fibre of the country even further.
- Land Acquisition & Resettlement & Rehabilitation Bill – This Bill has a very interesting timeline, and was used quite innovatively in State Politics. You might remember Bhatta Parsaul. That was May 2011. While Land Acquisition in the area was completed in 2010 itself, the protests mysteriously erupted around a time when NAC was working out a way to champion this Bill. Few died & few more injured during the build up of the background for the recognition to Sonia Gandhi & NAC’s version of Land Acquisition Bill.
- Development of North-Eastern Region (DONER) – A Department was originally setup by BJP, under Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee, called Department of DONER in September 2001. Vajpayee started multi-level discussions and programmes for better integration of North-Eastern Region with rest of India. Secessionist leaders were engaged to bring peace to the region. While in May 2004, it was turned into a Ministry, nothing much has happened. To top it all, in December 2012, NAC issued some meaningless bunch of recommendations on this issue, only to underscore its presence and participation.
- Pre-Legislative Consultative Process – Totally an NGO-intervention idea. The members of NAC, who want ever increasing say in the process of Policy making, have made a push for this through this document pushed by Aruna Roy. This will ultimately take the shape of Referendums that Shri. Arvind Kejriwal has been pushing for. Interestingly, the structure and methodology for this very same objective of larger public participation was implemented by Atal Behari Vajpayee during his stint as the PM. Instead of National Referendum, he called for National Debates which went on for months on various issues. This gave enough feedback to Govt for a stronger drafting of laws & policies and the effect of the same was seen in the performance of the Govt.
Originality of Sonia Gandhi & NAC
Almost none, whatsoever. There is only one original law that Sonia Gandhi & NAC have worked out. This is Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill. This Bill is a Guide on How to Break the Nation in 101 Ways.
Apart from this, Sonia Gandhi was so lacklustre, clueless on Governance, inspite of having lived in the Ruling Family of India for nearly 45years, that rejecting her and whatever is left of Nehru-Gandhi Parivar will not be out of order at all.
To hide her incompetence, she chose to stealing ideas from ongoing BJP run programs, then making unnecessary, unwanted, valueless suggestions to every running policy of the Government.
Not only did Sonia Gandhi steal credit from BJP, she as well as Rahul Gandhi stole it from their own Ministers as well.
Take the case of National Food Security Bill. It was Sonia Gandhi who was pushed as the Champion, a supposed Advisor. The concerned Ministry was practically nowhere in the picture.
Similarly, take the case of Land Acquisition Act. It was Rahul Gandhi was made the champion of this Act. He is neither a Minister, nor on NAC. As a matter of fact, this was not even a Private Member Bill. The concerned Ministry, again, was nowhere in the picture.
Too late the Congress will shut down this extra-Constitutional Body. But BJP must ensure that this circus stops immediately, when they win the 2014 General Elections.
Also, there is a whole range of Legislations and Policies that were stolen by Sonia Gandhi & NAC from BJP, for undue credits. BJP must aggressively and assertively reclaim it. BJP looks a suspect when it refuses to claim what is rightfully an example of their Good Governance, when they were in Power.