Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday released the party’s manifesto in presence of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh and senior Congress leader P Chidambaram among others.
Rahul Gandhi released its manifesto titled ‘Will Deliver’, in which special focus has been on youth and farmer. From opening vacancies for job creation to providing a minimum support income of Rs 72,000 per year for the poor families – the party went all out to woo the voters. The Congress manifesto also pledged to investigate Rafale plane deal along with several deals the party entered into by the BJP Government in the last 5 years.
The 55-page manifesto talks about five crucial issues – Kaam (employment and growth), Daam (an economy that works for all), Shaan (pride in hard work and soft power), Sushashan (good governance), Swabhimaan (self esteem for the deprived), Samman (life of dignity) – which the Congress party said “it will deliver” on.
Here’s a look at the major promises made by Congress ahead of Lok Sabha Election 2019:
1. Defence: The party promised to “keep a vigilant eye on the security situation”. They said that they would reverse the trend of declining defence spending, and ensure that it is increased to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces. They also pledged to expedite all modernisation programmes in a transparent manner, address anomalies, if any, in the one-rank-one-pension scheme for the ex-servicemen in the Armed Forces, and improve social security, education and health facilities for the paramilitary forces and their families.
2. Employment: Congress pledges to give the highest priority to protecting existing jobs and creating new jobs. the Congress has pledged to fill four lakh central government and institutional vacancies before March 2020. The party promised to create lakhs of new jobs for qualified teachers, doctors, nurses, paramedics, technicians, instructors and administrators through a massive expansion of the education and health sectors.
3. NYAY: Congress intends to implement NYAY as a joint scheme of the central and state governments. The party in its manifesto stated that the poorest 20% of families to be guaranteed a cash transfer of Rs. 72,000 a year each; money to be transferred to the account of a woman of the family; estimated cost will be <1% of GDP in Year 1 and <2% of GDP in Year 2 and thereafter.
4. Farmers and Agriculture: The Congress party manifesto promises to waive the outstanding loan of farmers and ending the non-payment of loans as a criminal offence. The Congress manifesto also introduces a separate ‘Kisan budget’ to prioritise issues affecting the agriculture sector.
5. Rural development: Congress promises to launch MGNREGA 3.0, which will increase the guaranteed days of employment up to 150 days; connect all villages and habitations with a population of 250 with a road under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana; pass the Right to Homestead Act to provide a homestead for every household that does not own a home or own land.
6. Health: Congress has 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. We will double expenditure on healthcare to 3 per cent of GDP by 2023-24.
7. Education: The party has promised to double the allocation for education to 6 per cent of GDP by 2023-24. School education from Class I to Class XII in public schools shall be compulsory and free. Schools will have adequate infrastructure and qualified teachers.
8. Women: The party has promised to pass in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha the Women’s Reservation Bill reserving 33 percent of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies. Congress will also reserve 33 percent of all posts/vacancies in the Central Government for women
9. Taxation: Congress promises 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.
10. Foreign Policy: Congress promises to establish a National Council on Foreign Policy; re-double the efforts to win for permanent membership India in the UNSC and the Nuclear Suppliers Group; significantly increase the size of the Foreign Service.