Says State government is doing a stellar job to ensure social security and welfare of the poor

United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi said here on Monday that the UPA government at the Centre and the United Democratic Front government in Kerala would work together to provide a responsive government and fulfil the aspirations of the people.

She was inaugurating the first phase of the distribution of title deeds to the landless under the Zero Landless (Citizens) Kerala Project, which seeks to provide three cents of land each to 2.44 lakh landless in the State by 2015.

Ms. Gandhi, who is also the All India Congress Committee president, said that inclusive growth was the policy of the UPA. “We want everyone to march together to make a new India. No one should be left behind or sidelined on account of religion, class, caste or creed.”

She said the Union government, under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had implemented a wide range of welfare programmes and brought in legislation on rehabilitation of evictees, right to education, right to work, and food security. The Kerala government was doing a stellar job to ensure social security and welfare of the poor through programmes such as the zero landless project. It was in harmony with the UPA’s social security measures and would receive full support of the Centre.

It was significant that the UDF government had come out with such a courageous measure to provide land to all despite severe pressure on land due to an increase in population and urbanisation. “This is a historic moment as the ultimate dream of everyone is to own a piece of land. By 2015 in Kerala, this will be fulfilled. Kerala will be the first State in the country to have achieved this. This is a model for other States to emulate.”

She later presented title deeds to a beneficiary each from six southern districts of the State. About one lakh titles are being distributed in the first phase.

Houses

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy announced that the government would build houses for the six persons and work out programmes for others. The objective was housing for all. Ms. Gandhi had hoped that those families would be able to construct houses while presenting the titles.

Finance Minister K. M. Mani said that ten lakh houses were needed in the State, five lakh new houses and renovation of five lakh houses, to achieve housing for all.

Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president Ramesh Chennithala said that the government was providing land to the landless fighting all forces who were trying to encroach and corner land.

Industries Minister P. K. Kunhalikutty and Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor also spoke. Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash welcomed the gathering. Secretary (Revenue) G. Kamala Vardhana Rao proposed a vote of thanks.

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