02 April 2019
New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday released the manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The manifesto 'Hum Nibayange' (We Will Deliver) was released in the presence of Congress President Rahul Gandhi, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and other party leaders. It has been divided into 'Kaam' - employment and growth, 'Daam' - economy that works for all, 'Shaan' - pride in India's hard and soft power, 'Sushashan' - good governance, 'Swabhimaan' - self-esteem for the deprived and 'Samman' - life of dignity for all.
Speaking at the event, P. Chidambaram, who chaired the Congress Manifesto Committee, said the manifesto "addresses the interests of farmers, industry, Dalits, minorities, workers, women".
The manifesto promises implementation of NYAY Scheme - Garibi Par War. Rs 72,000 per year to be given to 20 per cent of poorest families. 22 lakh government vacancies will be filled and 10 lakh jobs in panchayats has been ensured in the manifesto. Hitting out at the Prime Minister, Gandhi said that Narendra Modi made fun of the MGNREGA scheme dubbing it bogus and useless.
"Today everyone knows how much it helped the country. So now we want to guarantee jobs for 150 days, instead of 100 days, under the scheme," he said. The Congress promised to launch MGNREGA 3.0 to address issues of water security, soil quality and similar issues that aggravate farmers' distress.
Gandhi said the Congress government will allow anyone to start business without permits or clearances with tax holiday for the first three years to encourage entrepreneurship and create thousands of jobs across the country.
If the party comes to power, it has promised probe into Rafale deal on Day 1. Reports stated that Congress will also investigate the circumstances under which scamsters were allowed to leave the country and will take determined steps to bring them back.
A separate budget has also been promised for farmers. Loan default by farmers will not be treated as criminal offence but a civil offence. The party promised a loan waiver across the country for farmers.
"Through a combination of remunerative prices, lower input costs and assured access to institutional credit, we will set our (farmers) on the path to 'Karz Mukti' or freedom from indebtedness."
6% of GDP to be spent on education and the manifesto has also given importance to national security and internal security with a review of AFSPA to avoid human rights violation.
It said that it will work to improve the situation in Jammu and Kashmir, including reviewing the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and the Disturbed Areas Act in J&K.
The manifesto promised safety and a right to study or do business anywhere in the country to the students, traders and others from Jammu and Kashmir, saying the party is "deeply concerned about the cases of discrimination and harassment" faced by these people.
"We will adopt a two-pronged approach: firstly, uncompromising firmness on the border and ending infiltration; and secondly, absolute fairness in dealing with the demands of the people and winning their hearts and minds," the manifesto read.
For North East states, the party promised to restore the special category status and industrial policy. Congress also promised to withdraw the Citizenship Amendment Bill introduced by the BJP-led government against the wishes of the people of the North Eastern States.
"No to private insurance companies and public health to be strengthened," the manifesto mentions. The party promised a new Ministry of Industry, Services and Employment.
Section 499 of the Indian Penal Code will also be omitted and ‘defamation’ will be made a civil offence. Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code that defines the offence of ‘sedition’ will also be omitted as it has been misused.
The manifesto promises to pass a new law to prevent and punish hate crimes such as mob-engineered stripping, burning and lynching.
The Congress President said that he had told the members of the Manifesto Committee a year ago that it should not be drafted in closed rooms but should reflect the wishes of the people of India.
"I also said that whatever is going to be put in the manifesto has to be truthful. I do not want a single thing in the manifesto that is a lie because we have been hearing a large number of lies spoken every day by our Prime Minister," he said.
The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases between April 11 and May 19.