On February 17, the Congress’s youth-leader-at-50 Rahul Gandhi made a gaffe during his address to the people of Puducherry that has raised several questions on his knowledge about the working of the Indian government. During his address, Gandhi called fishermen’ farmers of the sea’ and promised them a ‘ministry of fisheries’ at the centre. He asked, if ‘farmers of the land’ can have a ministry in Delhi, why ‘farmers of the sea’ don’t have the same.
Govt passed 3 Bills against farmers, the backbone of a nation. You must be wondering why am I talking about farmers at meeting of fishermen. I consider you as farmers of sea. If farmers of land can have ministry in Delhi, why is that farmers of sea don’t have the same: R Gandhi https://t.co/S8mPZUgsCF pic.twitter.com/yWWfhOjTS1— ANI (@ANI) February 17, 2021
India already has a Ministry of Fisheries
Giriraj Singh, Minister of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying corrected Gandhi and wrote that he should be aware of the fact that PM Modi had created the Ministry on May 31, 2019, soon after he took oath as PM for the second time. He also mentioned Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) for which Rs.20,050 crore were allotted. He said, “Rahul Ji, You should know that on May 31, 2019, Modi Ji created the new ministry and started the Rs.20,050 Cr Rupees PMMSY which is several times more than the central government’s expenditure since independence to 2014 (3682 cr).”
राहुल जी ! आपको इतना तो पता ही होना चाहिए कि 31 मई,2019 को ही मोदी जी ने नया मंत्रालय बना दिया।— Shandilya Giriraj Singh (@girirajsinghbjp) February 17, 2021
और 20050 Cr रुपए की महायोजना (PMMSY) शुरू की जो आज़ादी से लेकर 2014 के केन्द्र सरकार के खर्च (3682 cr) से कई गुना ज़्यादा है। https://t.co/eV39avbeDt
Rahul Gandhi had asked a question to Ministry of Fisheries on February 2, 2021
Though Gandhi had promised a ministry on February 17, he had asked a question to Department of Fisheries under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying on February 2, 2021, which is on record. As per the Lok Sabha records, Gandhi had questioned the Ministry about Fisheries Infrastructure and Aquaculture Development Fund.
Gandhi’s question was divided into several parts asking about the details of programmes that were being implemented for aquaculture infrastructure, measures government is taking to provide support to fisherfolk, details of monitoring committee under the fund, state-wise details of loans given to eligible entities under the fund and state-wise details of funds allocated to self-help groups and marginal farmers.
Pratap Chandra Sarangi, Minister of State for Animal Husbandry, Dairying and Fisheries replied [PDF] to his question in detail. He said that a dedicated fund was created in 2018-19 named Fisheries and Aquaculture Infrastructure Development Fund (FIDF) with a total funds size of Rs 7522.48 crore. Further, PMMSY was also implemented by the Department for strengthening the infrastructure.
The fund provides financial support for different activities, including constructing ponds, installing cages in reservoirs, fish processing units, and more. The Central Approval and Monitoring Committee (CAMC) constituted under FIDF has approved projects worth Rs.3,638.37 crore and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has sanctioned Rs. 348.09 crore to the Government of Tamil Nadu for Fishing Harbour projects.
Rahul Gandhi’s gaffe raised serious questions
Though Rahul Gandhi can be given the benefit of the doubt, for being just Rahul Gandhi and goofing up once again, his address does raise some serious questions about his knowledge, intentions and his working as a Member of Parliament. There are some questions that Gandhi has to answer:
- Rahul Gandhi is Member of Parliament from Wayanad, Kerala. The state of Kerala is known for fisheries activities. If Gandhi is unaware of the Ministry itself, how would he be able to enable fishermen of his constituency to get benefits from the Ministry?
- Gandhi had asked a detailed question to the Ministry on record in Lok Sabha. If he is unaware of the existence of the Ministry, how did he manage to submit the question? If he is unaware that Ministry of fisheries exists, was the question raised by a proxy on his behalf?
- Last but not least, who writes the speeches for Rahul Gandhi? If there is a team that formulates what Gandhi will talk about, why Congress has hired uninformed people in his team? If Gandhi decides himself, why Congress has not yet formed a team of informed individuals to guide him on what to talk about in his speeches?
One may only wonder if Rahul Gandhi is just uninformed or there is a conspiracy from within Congress to sabotage his chance of becoming the party chief and PM candidate once again.