Day two of the Congress Chintan Shivir called for political and social engineering rather than only economic engineering at a session that discussed socio-economic challenges.
Rahul Gandhi, who participated in the deliberations, called for a balance between economic reforms and interests of weaker sections like Dalits, Adivasis and OBCs, who constitute more than 50% of the votes.
As almost three-fourth of the delegates questioned the economic reforms, former Union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar said the discussion on the economic issues clearly showed a disconnect between the government and the party. For the government, economy is FDI, sensex and repo rates, but for the majority of the party delegates it is poverty, education and inflation, he said.
The running theme was poor, poor and poor, as accentuated by the Kerala brigade of PCC president Ramesh Chennithala, Union minister Vayalar Ravi and others.
Union minister Kishore Chandra Deo raised the issue of hunger and population explosion, pointing out that India will have the highest number of hungry people by 2030. He also wanted the minimum wages raised to Rs10,000 and revival of the PV Narasimha Rao era scheme of loans to the non-technical graduates.