Special Correspondent

Will benefit 50 lakh urban poor: Modi

GANDHINAGAR: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday announced a Rs. 13,000 crore package for the urban poor in the State.

Making a statement in the Assembly, Mr. Modi said the package, which would benefit about 50 lakh urban poor, would be implemented during the 11th Five Year Plan.

He said about four lakh new jobs would be created for the unemployed urban youth under the package. It would provide better infrastructure facilities, roads, health centres, schools and other facilities in residential areas of the urban poor and provide each family its own house.

The package was in line with similar ones Mr. Modi announced earlier for tribals and fishermen. While the outlay for the 75 lakh tribals was put at Rs. 15,000 crore, that for the 40 lakh fishermen was fixed at Rs. 11,000 crore.

Leader of the Opposition Arjun Modhvadia raised technical objections to the Chief Minister's announcement, claiming that the Speaker should not have given him the permission to make a financial statement since the package was not incorporated in the Government's budget proposals.

Motion against Speaker

Speaker Mangaldas Patel, however, rejected the objection.

The House admitted an Opposition-sponsored motion expressing lack of confidence in the Speaker for his alleged partisan role. The motion, however, is unlikely to come up for discussion or voting during the current session ending on Friday, and would automatically lapse when the House met again, possibly for the monsoon session.

The Opposition, however, organised a "parallel mock session" outside the Assembly premises to "expose" the Speaker's alleged partisan role. Mr. Modhvadia said the Speaker was dancing to the tunes of the Chief Minister, which was reflected in his one-sided decision to suspend four members of the Congress for the entire budget session on the second day of the session that began on February 22.