MGNREGA has helped the poor in the villages sustain themselves with an assured wage that goes straight into their bank accounts. This has had multiple effects on the villagers’ attitude and life style. For the first time in the history, villagers are getting wages without any humiliating engagement with landlords or the rural rich. Second, they now have established connectivity with the banking system, which was not a common thing for them. One can see the impact of this flag ship scheme on the health of the rural poor. They look better fed and better dressed than they did five years ago.
The Right to Information Act is another revolutionary step and has exposed various corruption cases across the country. For an average Indian politician, corruption is routine and systemic but for Sonia Gandhi it is very serious and she believed that graft is like a cancer and we should tackle it effectively. And her consistent efforts helped to make this important policy a reality.
Every child’s right to education was another urgent matter of importancde for Sonia Gandhi. With her initiative, Congress-led central government brought in the Right to Education Act (RTE) which gave a fresh ray of hope among those who could never think of being able to afford decent education for their children.
Sonia Gandhi did her contribution in the field of education also. It was at her initiative, the Centre decided to establish 6,000 model schools with world-class facilities in every backward samithi/mandal. This programme, if effectively used by the states, is going to play a critical role in transforming education.
Most important of all is the Right to Food Ordinance. No one can forget the role played by the Congress President for making Food Security a reality. “No one in the country should live in hunger. That is why the Congress-led Central government is bring the Food Security Bill”, had said Sonia Gandhi on several occasions. For the average Indian politician, many poor in our country go to bed starving. But it is unfortunate that several political parties — particularly the main Opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)— are shamelessly attacking Sonia Gandhi for formalising this law as an ordinance.
Whether Congress will retain power after 2014 polls or not, these admirable measures taken by the Centre, under the effective guidance of Sonia Gandhi, will ever be remembered by the poor people in our country and remain in the log book of Indian history. Generation after generation, they will remember that it was Sonia Gandhi who recognised their role in food production and gave them the right to food, apart from ensuring several other rights like jobs, education.