Interview with Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chief Minister of Haryana.
The issues that dominated the campaign in the 2005 Assembly elections and in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls were economic growth, unemployment and law and order. The Congress won the elections and its government led by Bhupinder Singh Hooda took office in March 2005. In this interview that coincides with his completion of one year in office the Chief Minister speaks on some of the measures taken by his government to make Haryana an outstanding State in every respect. Excerpts:
The Congress government led by you has completed one year in office. What are its achievements?
When the Congress came to power it found everything in a state of disarray. There was lack of confidence among the people and the law and order situation was bad. Development activities had come to a standstill. Investments were not coming and industries were contemplating migrating to other States. I had promised a Bhrashtachaar Aur Bhai Mukta Sarkar [corruption-free and fear-free governance]. I can say we have achieved that in the past one year. My State is now free from fear and investments are coming in at a rapid pace. As far as corruption goes, it is more systemic than individual. There should be transparency. I cannot say with confidence that I have rooted out corruption but we are trying.
A lot of infrastructure development has also taken place; work has been allotted for the Kundli-Manesar-Palwal Expressway. This project with a total investment exceeding Rs.2,000 crores is expected to unleash enormous economic potential in the NCR [National Capital Region]. This will be nearly 135 kilometres long and provide connectivity between NH-1, NH-10, NH-8 and NH-2. Three Industrial Model Townships, including one each in Faridabad and Sonipat districts, and three new towns in the NCR around Samalkha - Gannuar, Sampla and Jahangirpur - Badli are proposed to be developed along this corridor. The first such project, the Rajiv Gandhi Education City, is being launched along this expressway.
There are new irrigation canals being planned for southern Haryana, which will cost Rs.260 crores, and another one which will feed the Kurukshetra-Ambala area. My government intends to give a lot of priority to power generation. We plan to generate 5,000 MW in the next three or four years. We have established an investment-friendly atmosphere.
Unemployment and retrenchment were some of the major issues on which the elections were fought. What is your government's record on this front?
We have set up a Cabinet sub-committee to look into those cases that were turned out of their jobs. We have announced recruitment in the police. We plan to create 10 lakh jobs over the next 10 years. We have increased the Plan Allocation on Technical Education by 200 per cent and are upgrading bodies such as the ITI .
We are also setting up vocational institutions and polytechnics in rural areas to create employment opportunities. We are filling the vacancies of schoolteachers up to 100 per cent and for the first time even reserved 33 per cent for women during recruitment. Our per capita income is the highest among the States. In the next five years, Haryana will be the number one State in every respect.
You have promised to empower women and the socially and economically vulnerable groups. Does Haryana plan to do away with the two-child norm that disqualifies people having more than two children from contesting elections in local bodies?
It cannot be done away with retrospective effect as we had local bodies and panchayat elections last year but we are going to look into this. Yes, we have put in place several schemes for women as well as the vulnerable groups.