Focus on state development, UP govt

Talk about giving ice to an Eskimo. Bollywood megastar Amitabh Bachchan, along with wife Jaya and son Abhishek, are among nearly 150 persons from of different fields, who will be handed a monthly pension of Rs 50,000 by the Uttar Pradesh government. The Bachchans will receive the dole for the rest of their lives, as they are Yash Bharti Award recipients. All those who have received the award are entitled to the pension.

Big B issued a statement yesterday, saying that he will be writing to UP Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav that the amount should be donated to charity. Bachchan said that though he respects the ‘honour’, he requests the UP government to redirect the amount to schemes that benefit the needy.

One cannot see the logic in a decision to make some of the most privileged persons in the country recipients of a monthly pension, an amount that may be loose change for the Bachchans.

Instead, the government would do well to turn its attention to issues of poverty, investing in education and women and child health.

A slew of studies speak about how UP, one of the largest states of India, is also one of its poorest. Its level of urbanisation is significantly lower than others. It languishes behind others on social development indexes — medical facilities, infant mortality rate, per capita income and literacy rate.

A website focusing on UP says it straight, by stating that life in the state has been short and uncertain. Yet, another report mentions that a girl born in Kerala is expected to live at least 20 years more than one in UP.

The Akhilesh Yadav government needs to make sure that it betters their figures instead of launching eyeball-catching schemes and putting Mr Moneybags, in an embarrassing quandary.

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