New Delhi, Feb 7 (IANS) Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh Thursday rubbished the BJP's demand that the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (Prime Minister's Rural Roads Scheme) be named after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.
Ramesh said that although the programme was started by Vajpayee, there had been miniscule allocations of Rs.3,000 to Rs.4,000 crore for the scheme in annual budgets while the National Democratic Alliance formed the government at the centre.
"It was the UPA which allocated huge amounts to the programme since the 2007 budget," Ramesh said, adding that Rs.24,000 crore had been allocated for it under the last budget.
There was thus no need to name the scheme after Vajpayee, Ramesh said.
While demanding the renaming of this scheme, the Bharatiya Janata Party had also asked Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to confer the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian award, on the 89-year-old Vajpayee on the Republic Day.
The PMGSY is a nationwide scheme to provide all-weather road connectivity to unconnected villages. The scheme was launched Dec 25, 2000, coinciding with the birthday of Vajpayee, who was then the prime minister.