GUWAHATI, July 24 - Expressing concern over the latest report of the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) about the Indian Army facing critical shortage of ammunition, former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today said that the issue is of great concern and called for having a full-time Defence Minister.
Addressing the media here, Gogoi said that the findings of the CAG are “shocking and very unfortunate” and said that in case of a war with China, Assam and the Assamese people will suffer a lot.
He accused the Centre of not taking the issue seriously.
Gogoi said that India needs a “full-time” Defence Minister as the same person cannot be expected to handle two critical portfolios like Defence and Finance.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has been holding the additional charge of Defence since Manohar Parrikar resigned and assumed charge as the Chief Minister of Goa.
Gogoi said that if there is lack of technology in the country to manufacture arms and ammunition, the government should seek the help of other nations.
He lambasted the ‘Skill India’ and ‘Make in India’ initiatives and said nothing positive has been noticed from such schemes and not many jobs have been generated, including in Assam.
He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi should now focus on “Kaam Ki Baat instead of Mann Ki Baat”.
Regarding the election of Ram Nath Kovind as the President of India, Gogoi said that while he welcomes the election of a Dalit to the highest office of the country, the Modi government is only paying lip service with regard to measures for welfare of the weaker sections.
Gogoi said that allocations for Schedule Castes and Schedule Tribes under various sub-plans have been drastically slashed by the Modi government and the number of welfare schemes for such communities have also been drastically reduced.
He said that while Modi celebrated the third anniversary of the NDA regime at the Centre by holding events in Assam, the Prime Minister has not found time to visit the State now, when large parts of Assam have been ravaged by flood.
He supported AASU’s call for a White Paper from the Centre on measures to control flood and erosion in Assam.
Gogoi was also critical of the Sarbananda Sonowal government and alleged that during the present regime corruption in Assam has reached unprecedented levels.
He said that while BJP came to power at Dispur talking about “parivartan”, no developmental initiative has been taken by the government so far and even National Highways in the State as well as major roads in Guwahati have started to resemble ponds.