The Indian National Congress on Tuesday released its poll manifesto ahead of the 2019 general elections. Here are some of the key points the party has made in the document.
Minimum Income Guarantee To Eliminate Poverty Or Nyuntam
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.
To the youth of India, Congress pledges to make jobs our no.1 priority, both in the public and private sector. We will ensure 34 lakh jobs in the public sector by;
a. Filling all 4 lakh central government vacancies before March 2020.
b. Persuading the state governments to fill their 20 lakh vacancies.
c. Creating an estimated 10 lakh new Seva Mitra positions in every gram panchayat and urban local body.
We will also provide a fillip to private sector jobs by;
a. Rewarding businesses for job creation and employing more women,
b. Requiring businesses with over 100 employees to implement an apprenticeship programme.
Congress promises 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.
Congress will radically simplify the GST regime with a single moderate rate of tax,
Armed Forces and Paramilitary Forces
Congress 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.
Quality Education For Every Child
Congress promises that school education from Class I to Class XII in public schools shall be compulsory and free. We will especially focus on learning outcomes. Schools will have adequate infrastructure and qualified teachers. To achieve this, we will double the allocation for Education to 6 per cent of GDP by 2023-24.
Congress promises to pass in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha the Women’s Reservation Bill reserving 33 per cent of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies. Congress will also reserve 33 per cent of all posts/vacancies in the Central Government for women.
We will implement, in letter and spirit, the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and secure for the Scheduled Tribes the rights guaranteed under the Act. No forest dweller will be unjustly evicted. We will establish a National Commission for Non-Timber Forest Produce. To improve the livelihood and income of Adivasis, we will offer Minimum Support Prices for NTFP.
Right to Homestead
We will pass 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.
End to Hate Crimes
In the last 5 years under the NDA Government, hate crimes and atrocities against vulnerable sections of the people have increased manifold. Congress promises to end the sense of impunity, stamp out mob violence and lynching, and prevent atrocities and hate crimes against the SC, ST, women and minorities. Congress will hold accountable the police and district administration for proven negligence in the case of riots, mob violence and hate crimes.
Religious and linguistic minorities
Congress will pass a new law in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha to prevent and punish hate crimes such as mob-engineered stripping, burning and lynching. The law will contain provisions to compensate the victims and to hold accountable the police and district administration for proven negligence.
Congress promises to uphold the character of Aligarh Muslim University and Jamia Millia Islamia as minority educational institutions.
Congress promise that the National Commission for Women and the National Commission for Minorities will be given Constitutional status as in the cases of similar Commissions.
SCs, STs and OBCs:
Congress promises a holistic agenda of affirmative action for SCs, STs and OBCs who constitute a little more than 75 per cent of the population. Hence, Congress promises to set up an Equal Opportunities Commission, which will recommend affirmative action strategies and policies to achieve equality—and equity—in education, employment and economic opportunities. We will implement the recommendations of the Equal Opportunities Commission.
Congress will pass a law to restore the original purpose and intent of the 200-point roster system and implement it for the institution as a whole. Congress promises to fill all backlog vacancies reserved for SCs, STs and OBCs in government, semi-government and central public sector organisations within 12 months.
Congress promises to amend the Constitution to provide for reservation in promotion posts for SCs, STs and OBCs. Congress promises to pass a law to provide for reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs in private higher education institutions.
It will be our national mission to implement, in letter and spirit, the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and to secure for the Scheduled Tribes the rights guaranteed under the Act.
Congress promises to uphold the values enshrined in the Constitution of India and protect their freedoms, including the freedom to dissent. Congress will pass a law on privacy; restrict the use of Aadhaar to the original purposes of the Aadhaar Act; protect the rights of every citizen especially students, journalists, academics, artists, civil society activists and NGOs. Congress will review all laws and repeal those that are outdated, unjust or unreasonably restrict the freedom of the people.
Protecting Our Institutions
Congress promises to revitalise the institutions that were brazenly undermined in the last 5 years such as RBI, ECI, CIC, CBI, etc. Congress will restore their dignity, authority and autonomy while making them accountable to Parliament. In order to ensure free and fair elections, we will abolish the opaque electoral bonds introduced by the NDA government and set up a National Election Fund that will be allocated at the time of elections to recognised political parties.
Cities and Urban Governance
Congress promises a comprehensive policy on urbanisation to address issues concerning our towns and cities, including city governance, livelihoods, housing, habitat, pollution, climate change, urban transport and disaster management. For the urban poor, we promise the Right to Housing and protection from arbitrary eviction, and a Slum Upgradation and Transformation Scheme. We will introduce a new model of governance for towns and cities through directly elected mayors. We will transform cities into engines of economic growth.
Environment and Climate Change
Congress promises an action agenda that will place India at the forefront of the battle against global warming and environmental protection. We recognise that air pollution is a national public health emergency and will significantly strengthen the National Clean Air Programme. Forests, wildlife, water bodies, rivers, clean air and coastal zones are precious natural resources that belong to the people and we will protect them. We will set up an independent, empowered and transparent Environment Protection Authority, redefine the role of the Forest Departments and increase our forest cover.