Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday released the party’s 55-page manifesto that 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.
However, Trinamool Congress (TMC )Leader Sobhandeb Chattopadhyay slammed the Congress manifesto, drawing comparisons with policies of the Mamata Banerjee led-govt in West Bengal. “Congress has given such projects in their manifesto which have already been given by Mamata Banerjee in the TMC manifesto giving assurances on employment, the welfare of farmers and the all over development of the State. It is very common for all political parties to announce these in their manifestos and there could be a lot of similarities. Country’s people are the same and the economic condition and culture is the same,” he said.
Aiming a bigger role in the national political stage, TMC preferred to opt for a 61-pointer party manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections to cover raging national issues as a whole rather than limit its reach only to West Bengal. Special emphasis has been given to jobs, women empowerment and political, economic & judicial reforms, besides several others.
Let’s look at some of the similarities between the policies and promises made my Congress and TMC in their individual manifestos.
Both congress and TMC plans six per cent of the GDP to be spent on education and public health.
TMC pledged to take the expenditure on education from the current 3% (3.24%) to 6% of GDP. We expect that 70% of this expenditure will go towards School Education to benefit the common people and 30% will go towards Higher Education to enrich the human capital on research and innovation.
Congress pledged to double the allocation for Education to 6 per cent of GDP in the 5 years ending 2023-24. A path forward will be laid down in the regular Budget for 2019-20.
2. MINISTRY OF MICRO, SMALL AND MEDIUM ENTERPRISES (MSMEs)
TMC in it’s manifesto stated that the party will give special attention to the MSMEs. “With the shrinking of growth rate of exports and increase in growth rate of imports, it is imperative that we create a fresh Foreign Trade Policy, with a special focus on MSMEs and labour intensive sectors.”
Congress too has promised to bring in better plans for the MSMEs if voted to the power. In it’s manifesto, it stated that, “MSMEs were badly hit by demonetisation and a flawed GST. Congress promises to devise a rehabilitation plan for MSMEs that were severely affected and help them revive and grow.”
Congress promises to enhance availability of, and access to, electricity in rural areas by encour-aging investment in off-grid renewable powergeneration with ownership and revenues vesting in local bodies. Every village and every home will be electrified in the true sense. In the long term, we aim to substitute LPG used in homes by electricity and solar energy.
TMC on the other hand aims to provide ‘electricity for all’. In its manifesto, the party said that “All villages of India must have electricity in a time bound manner keeping in view quality of power as well. 47. We will steadily shift towards clean energy with a focus on natural gas coal bed methane, gas fired thermal power, greater reliance on hydel power, shale gas and non conventional sources of energy including renewable energy. For all of this, we need a new Energy Policy which will be defined by clean energy sources.”
Congress will enforce anti-corruption lawswithout discrimination. Appointments to the Lokpal will be made in accor-dance with the Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act, 2013. The Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and, in the absence of such a leader, the leader of the largest Opposition Party will be a full-fledged member of the selection committee.
TMC too promised to encourage the setting up of Lokpal and Lokayukta in all States to promote the anti-corruption drive and bring transparency in governance.