National

Manmohan acknowledges key role of NAC

National Advisory Council chairperson Sonia Gandhi and its members with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi on Thursday after the first meeting of the newly constituted Council. Photo PTI  

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday acknowledged the historic role played by the National Advisory Council (NAC) in the United Progressive Alliance's first term in office by giving inputs for the Right to Information Act and the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, while playing host to NAC chairperson Sonia Gandhi and the members of her newly constituted council. But in the course of the two-hour interaction he cautioned them about the need to maintain an overall high economic growth while speaking about the virtues of fiscal prudence, NAC sources told The Hindu. This assumes significance given that the Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) has already diluted the Food Security Bill that had been forwarded to by Ms. Gandhi's office. .

Priorities

The meeting with the Prime Minister followed a three-hour preliminary meeting of NAC 2 in the morning, where the council worked out its priorities. Predictably, the Food Security Bill tops the NAC's agenda and will be taken at its next meeting on July 1, followed by the Communal Violence Bill either on that day or on July 15.

At the meeting, Ms. Gandhi pointed out that the RTI Act and the MNREGA had enhanced transparency and accountability in administration and promoted the UPA government's agenda for “inclusive growth.” She also stressed the fact that people had high expectations from the NAC.

Issues that will be subsequently taken up are natural resource management, including revitalisation of agriculture, development of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, welfare of minorities, poverty elimination and employment generation, land rights and land reforms, right to education, disadvantaged children, health security and medical insurance, social security and safety net for the disadvantaged groups, urban poverty, development of the northeast and the Special Component plan for Scheduled Castes and the tribal sub-plan for Scheduled Tribes.

The NAC will focus on the broad priority areas outlined in the President's speech to Parliament on June 4, 2009, review the government's flagship programmes and suggest measures to address constraints in their implementation

There was a full house on Thursday with all NAC members — Prof. M.S. Swaminathan, Dr. Ram Dayal Munda, Prof. Narendra Jadhav, Prof. Pramod Tandon, Dr. Jean Dreze, Aruna Roy, Dr. Madhav Gadgil, Dr. N.C. Saxena, Dr. Shiva Kumar, Deep Joshi, Anu Agha, Farah Naqvi, Harsh Mander and Mirai Chatterjee — and Secretary NAC Rita Sharma present.

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Printable version | May 5, 2021 1:49:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Manmohan-acknowledges-key-role-of-NAC/article16242529.ece

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