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Atal rushes to Verma’s rescue

New Delhi, July 24: The Prime Minister today came to his labour minister’s rescue as he fumbled for a response to the Opposition’s unemployment charge.

As the Opposition, led by the Congress and the CPM, insisted on knowing the Centre’s strategy to fight unemployment, Sahib Singh Verma kept shrugging off their queries.

“This does not come under the ambit of the question which relates only to public-sector workers,” he said during question hour in the Upper House.

Amid the din, the Opposition wanted to know what the Centre had done to fulfil its commitment to provide 1 crore jobs every year.

As Verma continued with his answer in the noise, Atal Bihari Vajpayee stood up and said: “We concede there is an unemployment problem in the country. And we have to remove this problem.”

Government jobs have been squeezed to the limit, he indicated. “Ending unemployment does not mean giving government jobs to the unemployed.”

Vajpayee emphasised his government was still committed to providing 1 crore jobs. Taking a potshot at Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Laloo Prasad Yadav, the Prime Minister said: “Aapke Bihar mein bhi naukri dikhai dega Lalooji (Jobs will be available even in Bihar).”

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