Monday, December 11, 2006

Prime Minister and his speech

Over the weekend there was lot of noise about what prime minister said in the meeting of National Development Council. Here is what Indian Express Reported. The starting line of the Indian Express news says
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said plans for minorities, particularly Muslims, must have the â??first claimâ?? on resources so that benefits of development reach them equitably.

Here is what The Tabloid (oops Times) of India wrote.
In his address to the National Development Council, the PM chose to take up the issue of devising "innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority are empowered to share equitably in the fruits of development". The PMâ??s remarks addressed all minority groups as he said, "These must have first claim on resources." BJP used references to Muslims to attack PMâ??s speech.

After all the noise, the PMO came back with following press release.
The statement said the Prime Minister's reference to the first claim on resources referred to all the priority areas, including programmes for the upliftment of SCs, STs, OBCs, women and children and minorities.

So I thought, let me find for myself what PM really said. It is available on PM's official web-site.
I believe our collective priorities are clear. Agriculture, irrigation and water resources, health, education, critical investment in rural infrastructure, and the essential public investment needs of general infrastructure, along with programmes for the upliftment of SC/STs, other backward classes, minorities and women and children. The component plans for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes will need to be revitalized. We will have to devise innovative plans to ensure that minorities, particularly the Muslim minority, are empowered to share equitably in the fruits of development. They must have the first claim on resources. The Centre has a myriad other responsibilities whose demands will have to be fitted within the over-all resource availability. The Planning Commission will of course undertake a thorough review of ongoing programmes to eliminate those which have outlived their original rationale, but we cannot escape from the fact that the Centreâ??s resources will be stretched in the immediate future and an increasing share of the responsibility will have to be shouldered by the states.

The quoted text above is a complete paragraph from PM's speech and from the above paragraph it is very clear that PM is talking of all the SC/ST, OBC, and Minorities. From within minorities, he does say that "particularly muslims ".

I would agree to the PMO press release and it looks to me that most of the media has now has attention span of a one year old kid and can't really read through a 3 page speech so they pick and choose words and sentence segments and report on that.

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