Finance Minister Arun Jaitley addresses press conference at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi.
Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday rejected the Congress’s manifesto, saying Rahul Gandhi-led party is “making dangerous promises”. “Some of the ideas are positively dangerous in the Congress manifesto. They are for an agenda for the balkanisation of India,” he said.
“Even though there was a drafting committee, but it appears that some of the important points have been drafted by the Congress president's friends in 'Tukde Tukde gang' when it deals with Jammu and Kashmir,” Jaitley said at a press conference in the BJP headquarters in New Delhi.
The senior party leader said the Congress does not deserve "even a single vote" for its promises, such as doing away with sedition law
He also said even tokenism has not been done on farm loan waiver in the five states where the Congress is in power.
The Congress on Tuesday released its manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls, making a slew of promises, including giving Rs 72,000 each to five crore poor families under the 'Nyay' scheme, filling up 22 lakh government vacancies, bringing a separate budget for farmers and fixing a single moderate GST rate.
#ElectionsWithNewsNation | "I seem to have read the manifesto more than Congress president": @arunjaitley takes a jibe at @RahulGandhi over employment promise in #CongressManifesto— News Nation (@NewsNationTV) April 2, 2019
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“For the 10 years that we were in Opposition, I would never believe the budget issued by the Congress party because I knew that the devil was always in the details. You have to read the complete annexures to understand their intent which was never clear,” Jaitley said.
The 55-page document titled 'Hum Nibhayenge' (We will deliver) focused on addressing the issues of joblessness, farm distress, safety of women and boosting the rural economy, with stress on building a narrative on "real issues" faced by people.
The manifesto was released by party president Rahul Gandhi, former prime minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and senior leader P Chidambaram among others.
For farmers, Congress promised to put them on the path from "Karz Maafi" (loan waiver), to "Karz Mukti" (freedom from loans).
This will be done through remunerative prices, lower input costs, and assured access to institutional credit, the party said, adding it will present a separate "Kisan Budget" every year, if voted to power.
Speaking on the occasion at the Congress headquarters in New Delhi, Gandhi said the Congress will allocate 6 per cent of GDP to education, strengthen government hospitals and give high-quality healthcare access to poor if voted to power.
The party also 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.
The Congress president alleged that the BJP government had spread hate and divisiveness in its five-year rule and his party will work towards uniting India by bringing people together.
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"Our manifesto process reflects our commitment to a higher vision, that of listening to the 'jan awaaz'. It is not the 'mann ki baat' of one individual but the collective voice of lakhs of people," he said in a preface of the manifesto.
With this manifesto, Gandhi said the Congress has offered to people "the only national alternative -- a distinct alternative that is unwavering in its commitment to truth, freedom, dignity, self-respect and prosperity for our people."
On the party's showpiece minimum income guarantee scheme or Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY), the party's manifesto promised to give Rs 72,000 per year to the poorest 20 per cent households in India.
"Nyay, in the manifesto, has now become a joint scheme of Central and the state governments. Thereby, diluting the initial announcement that Nyay will be over and above existing schemes. It is visible through manifesto that “Nyay” is an all-time big Congress bluff," said Jaitley at the press conference.
To the youth of India, Congress pledged to make jobs its top priority, saying it will ensure 34 lakh jobs in the public sector by filling all 4 lakh central government vacancies before March 2020, persuading the state governments to fill 20 lakh vacancies and creating an estimated 10 lakh new Seva Mitra positions in every gram panchayat and urban local bodies.
The party said it will also provide a fillip to private sector by incentivising businesses for jobs creation and employing more women.
On GST tax, the Congress said it will radically simplify the GST regime with a single moderate rate of tax, zero-rating of exports, and exemption for essential goods and services.
It also promised panchayats and municipalities a share of GST revenues.
"The Congress manifesto promises Single Rate GST. This effectively means that luxury items, Aam Aadmi commodities, and food items, all should be taxed at the same rate. Rahul Gandhi got this wisdom from Singapore which has no poverty. So, the manifesto does not care about the poor," said Jaitley.
The Congress, it said, will reverse the trend of declining defence spending under the NDA government, and increase it to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces.
"We will expedite all modernisation programmes of the Armed Forces in a transparent manner. We will improve social security, education and health facilities for our Paramilitary Forces and families," the party said.
On education, Congress promised that school education from Class I to Class XII in public schools shall be compulsory and free.
The party 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.
(With PTI inputs)