The Congress party on Tuesday released the party's manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. The event was held at the party's headquarters of 24, Akbar Road in the national capital. From farm loan waiver to unemployment, the Congress President announced things that the party has been accusing the ruling NDA about. The party had reached out to the masses last year to seek inputs for the manifesto. Congress had also used social media for outreach. The manifesto committee, which was chaired by former Union minister P. Chidambaram. "Today is a historic day. Congress manifesto will help to make a strong and developed India," said Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala.
"The last 5 years have been disastrous for the people of India. The youth have lost jobs. Farmers have lost hope. Traders have lost business. Micro, small and medium enterprises have lost their confidence. Women have lost the sense of security. Deprived communities have lost their traditional rights. Institutions have lost independence," Rahul Gandhi said.
Congress manifesto: Key takeaways
In order to underline the link between the growth of industry and the service sectors and the rapid creation of jobs, Congress will create a new Ministry of Industry, Services and Employment. All of the 4 lakh vacancies as on 1st April 2019 in the Central Government, Central Public Sector Enterprises, Judiciary and Parliament will be filled before the end of March 2020. As a condition for devolution of funds to the healthcare and education sectors and to Panchayats and Municipalities, Congress will request State Governments to fill all vacancies, estimated at 20 lakh, in the 2 sectors and the local bodies.
Minimum Income Support
Each family will be guaranteed a cash transfer of Rs. 72,000 a year. The money will be transferred to the account of a woman of the family who has a bank account, or who will be urged to open a bank account. Congress will appoint an independent panel of eminent economists, social scientists, and statisticians to oversee the design, testing, rollout, and implementation of the programme.
Congress promises that the total government expenditure on healthcare will be doubled to 3 per cent of GDP by the year 2023-24. The Annual Budgets will indicate the step up in each year in order to achieve the target in 2023-24. Congress will substantially expand the free Dial-an-Ambulance service and put on the road more ambulances in all the districts of India. Trauma and Emergency Centres will be established on all National and State Highways to cater to the travelling public as well as the population in the surrounding area.
Governance, Transparency, and accountability
Congress will review the Right to Information Act, 2005 in the light of its working in the last 14 years and omit provisions that may have diluted the Act and add provisions to strengthen the Act. Congress promises to pass an Anti-Discrimination Law to prohibit discrimination on the basis of religion, caste, gender or language in the supply of goods and services that are made available to the public in general such as housing, hostels, hotels, clubs, etc.
Women Empowerment and Gender Equality
Congress promises to pass the Constitution (Amendment) Bill to provide for reservation of 33 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha. Sufficient night shelters will be built for migrant women workers. An adequate number of safe and hygienic public toilets for women will be provided in towns and cities. Sanitary napkin vending machines will be installed in public spaces, schools and colleges. Congress promises a comprehensive review of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplaces Act, 2013.
A separate budget for farmers will be allocated. Loan default by farmers won't be treated as criminal offence but a civil offence.
Congress will reverse the trend of declining defence spending under the NDA government, and will ensure that defence spending is increased to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces. Congress promises to rapidly expand domestic capacity to manufacture defence and security equipment