Farmers and jobs rank high on Congress manifesto

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Congress president Rahul Gandhi released the party manifesto for the General Elections 2019 with Sonia Gandhi, Priyanka Vadra and former prime minister Manmohan Singh and P Chidambaram.

Speaking at the press conference, Chidambaram said that the manifesto will set the narrative for the polls. “The BJP may be the ruling party today but the party is trying to take the narrative to five years back …to divisiveness and hyper nationalism….Our manifesto is focussed on real issues of jobs,” Chidambaram said.

Agencies reported, farmer distress and security of women are top three issues. The theme of the manifesto is how to marry wealth and welfare, he added.

Speaking at the press conference, Rahul Gandhi said he instructed party members not to prepared the manifesto in closed doors. The manifesto is the voice of the people, he said. “I do not want a single thing in this manifesto that is a lie because we have been hearing large number of lies spoken everyday by our PM,” he added.

The Congress manifesto has five highlights, Rahul Gandhi said. He said that the proposed Nyay scheme would help the economy which got “jammed” due to BJP’s demonetisation move. He gave the slogan: Garibi pe waar, 72000.

The party has promised to introduce the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) under which Rs72,000/year will be transferred to the poorest 20 per cent house-holds in India. It will be transferred to the woman in the household, 

Congress pledged to make jobs its no.1 priority, both in the public and private sector. It has promised to fill all 4 lakh central government vacancies before March 2020 and to persuade state governments to fill their 20 lakh vacancies. It plans to create an estimated 10 lakh new Seva Mitra positions in every gram panchayat and urban local body. The manifesto says businesses will be rewarded for job creation and employing more women and firms with over 100 employees will have to implement an apprenticeship programme.

Congress says it will present a separate “Kisan Budget” every year. Also the party has promised to bring a permanent National Commission on Agricultural Development and Planning. 

The party also promises to enact the Right to Healthcare Act and guarantee every citizen free diagnostics, out-patient care, free medicines and hospitalisation, through a network of public hospitals and enlisted private hospitals. The party said it will double expenditure on healthcare to 3 per cent of GDP by 2023-24.

Congress will simplify the GST regime with a single moderate rate of tax, zero rating of exports, and exemption for essential goods and services, added the manifesto. “We also promise panchayats and municipalities a share of GST revenues,” said Congress in the manifesto.

It has promised to double the allocation for Education to 6 per cent of GDP by 2023-24. 

33 percent of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies has been proposed in the manifesto. Congress will also reserve 33 percent of all posts/vacancies in the Central Government for women. 

Congress said it will pass the Right to Homestead Act to provide a piece of land for every rural house-hold that does not own a home or own land on which a house may be built. The manifesto promises to end the sense of impunity, stamp out mob violence and lynching, and prevent atrocities and hate crimes against the SC, ST, women and minorities. “Congress will hold accountable the police and district administration for proven negligence in the case of riots, mob violence and hate crimes.” 

Congress will pass a law on privacy; restrict the use of Aadhaar to the original purposes of the Aadhaar Act. 

Besides, the Congress manifesto has promised to review the controversial AFSPA that gives unprecedented power to security forces in disturbed zones like J&K and some parts of the North East.

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