Unemployment allowance utopian concept: Virbhadra

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Terming the Congress election manifesto promise of providing unemployment allowance to the jobless youth as a “utopian” concept which was impractical, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today made it amply clear that it was not possible for him or any other regime or even the Centre to fulfill this commitment.

Even as the demand to fulfill the promise of Unemployment Allowance made by Congress in its election manifesto gains momentum, Virbhadra said his government was not committed to fulfill the promise as it would prove to be counter-productive and lead to youth remaining idle. It is not just the BJP but Virbhadra’s own ministerial colleague GS Bali has demanded that this was the main promise made by the Congress in the 2012 Assembly polls which must be honoured.

“Those who were part of the Congress Election Manifesto Committee had no experience of the government and had I been consulted, I would have advised against it. Since I was busy travelling, I did not get the time to be involved in the making of the manifesto,” he said. He admitted that considering the financial scenario that any state government in the country or the Centre is faced with, it is simply out of question to provide unemployment allowance.

It was former Union Minister Anand Sharma and Transport Minister GS Bali who were associated with the preparation of the Congress election manifesto before the 2012 Assembly polls. It was these two leaders who Virbhadra hinted at obliquely, without naming them. Bali even held a press conference here last week in which he demanded that the government must provide unemployment allowance to the youth as promised in the manifesto.

“Providing an unemployment allowance is not the right approach and the better way is to upgrade the skills of the educated jobless youth to make them employable, for which we have provided an annual budget of Rs 100 crore annually and also launched a Rs 600 Asian Development Bank funded scheme” said Virbhadra. The Chief Minister said funds had never been a constraint in providing social security pensions to the aged and other vulnerable sections of society including widows and those living below poverty line (BPL) by his government.

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