HIGHLIGHTS OF THE MANIFESTO
Congress releases manifesto for 2019 Lok Sabha elections
With 2019 Lok Sabha elections less than two weeks away, the Congress party on Tuesday announced its manifesto for the polls naming it ‘Jan Awaaz’. The manifesto was released in the presence Rahul Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and former prime minister Manmohan Singh. Priyanka Gandhi and other big leaders were also there.
Congress president Rahul Gandhi while releasing the manifesto, emphasised that the manifesto reflects the voice of people which will focus on wealth and welfare.
"When we started this process about a year back, I spoke to Mr Chidamabaram, Mr Gowda & gave two instructions. I said this is not a manifesto to be made in closed rooms but this should reflect the wishes of the people of India," said Gandhi.
Former finance minister P Chidambaram was the head of the manifesto committee. 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.
Chidambaram said unemployment, farmer distress and security of women are top three issues. The theme of the manifesto is how to marry wealth and welfare, he added.
Let's take a look at the highlights of the manifesto:
Minimum Income Guarantee:
The Congress has promised to implement Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) to eliminate poverty. To ensure a life of dignity to all Indians, Congress will introduce the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) under which Rs. 72,000/year will be transferred to the poorest 20 per cent households in India. It will be transferred to the woman in the household, as far as possible.
The Congress promised 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. It said, "We will double expenditure on healthcare to 3 per cent of GDP by 2023-24.”
To the youth of India, Congress pledges to make jobs our no.1 priority, both in the public and private sector. The party has promised 34 lakh jobs in the public sector if elected to power by filling all 4 lakh central government vacancies before March 2020, persuading the state governments to fill their 20 lakh vacancies and creating an estimated 10 lakh new Seva Mitra positions in every gram panchayat and urban local body.
Congress has also promised to enact the Direct Taxes Code in the first year of government; review and replace the current GST laws with the GST 2.0 regime based on a single, moderate, standard rate of tax; abolish the e-way bill.
Farmers And Farm Labour:
The Congress has promised to put the farmers "on the path from "Karz Maafi” (loan waiver), to "Karz Mukti” (loan-free)”. The manifesto also promises to present a separate "Kisan Budget” every year. "We will also establish a permanent National Commission on Agricultural Development and Planning,” says the poll document of the Congress.
Quality Education For Every Child:
The Congress has said it will make school education from Class I to Class XII in public schools compulsory and free if elected to power. "We will double the allocation for Education to 6 per cent of GDP by 2023-24,” the party said.
Party also promised to scrap the opaque Electoral Bond Scheme that was designed to favour the ruling party; set up a National Election Fund to which any person may make a contribution; promise that 50% of EVMs will be matched against VVPATs.
Laws, Rules and Regulations:
"Congress promises to decriminalise defamation and sedition; amend laws that allow detention without trial; pass Prevention of Torture Act; amend ASFPA; institute comprehensive prison reforms," says the manifesto
Armed Forces and Paramilitary Forces:
The Congress has promised to increase defence spending and expedite all modernisation programmes of the Armed Forces in a transparent manner.
The Congress has promised to legislate the Women’s Reservation Bill providing for 33 per cent of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies and a 33 per cent quota for women in all central government jobs.
Congress party also promised to scrap Niti Aayog and constitute a Planning Commission with re-defined responsibilities.
End to Hate Crimes:
The Congress alleged that under the BJP-led government, "hate crimes and atrocities against vulnerable sections of the people have increased manifold”. It said the police and district administration will be held accountable for proven negligence in the case of riots, mob violence and hate crimes.
Environment and Climate Change:
The Congress has said air pollution is a national public health emergency and promises to strengthen the National Clean Air Programme.
The Congress has promised to enact a law on privacy and restrict the use of Aadhaar to the original purposes of the Aadhaar Act.
The Congress has promised to "implement, in letter and spirit, the Forest Rights Act, 2006” saying, "No forest dweller will be unjustly evicted.” It has also promised minimum support prices for non-timber forest produce.
Cities and Urban Governance:
The Congress has promised to introduce a new model of governance for towns and cities through directly elected mayors and introduce right to housing.
Right to Homestead:
The party has promised to enact the Right to Homestead Act to provide a piece of land for every rural household that does not own a home or own land on which a house may be built.
Protecting Our Institutions:
Alleging that the institutions of the country "were brazenly undermined in the last 5 years”, the Congress said bodies such as RBI, ECI, CIC and CBI will be given authority and autonomy. It also promised to "abolish the opaque electoral bonds introduced by the NDA government and set up a National Election Fund” to ensure free and fair elections.
Meanwhile, the BJP is expected to release its manifesto in this week for the Lok Sabha elections which is to be held in seven phases from 11th April to 19th May 2019. In 2014, BJP had released its manifesto only on the morning of the first day of polling for the first phase. BJP has appointed Rajnath Singh as the in-charge of the manifesto committee.
Here's the full press conference by Congress:
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