The United Progressive Alliance’s growth story' and food security scheme dominated a Congress workshop on Monday where its media managers from across the country were given training to disseminate party's message on key issues ahead of next Lok Sabha polls.
While Union Ministers Jairam Ramesh and K V Thomas dwelt at length about the salient features of the "game changer" food security ordinance and its political import, participants were also provided with a booklet containing a list of 22 frequently asked questions and their answers to equip them to take the message effectively among the electorates.
The booklet dealt with the issues like the opposition criticism of the Ordinance that it will dissuade the farmers from producing foodgrains, the complaint of states about additional financial burden and questions like whether the government has enough foodgrains.
Asking all Congress workers to ensure wide dissemination of information on the measure, the party has also suggested "wall-paintings" as one of the methods to achieve it.
The Congress treats the bill as a game changer ahead of next Lok Sabha elections on the line MNREGA and farmers' loan waiver in UPA I, which had seen its return to power in 2009.
Not losing sight of the political significance of the measure, the party document says that the party workers should ensure that the "people are aware of the benefits promised by the Central government and the obligations that have been placed upon the state governments."
Concern over weaknesses in the pubic distribution system creating bottlenecks in reaching benefits of the scheme were repeatedly emphasised in the meeting.
Former Universal Public Procurement Certification Council chief Rita Bahuguna said that the focus during the two-day meeting is on how better "we can showcase the achievements of our government and expose the lies" spread by the opposition by using all tools of communication including social media.
Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who spoke on "State of Indian Economy-Growth during UPA regime as compared to the national Democratic Alliance" talked at length on challenges of inflation with particular focus on rising prices of food items and falling rupees, issues on which Opposition parties have been attacking the government.