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Congress manifesto promises justice for all: Rahul Gandhi

Tina Edwin New Delhi | Updated on April 02, 2019 Published on April 02, 2019

Congress President Rahul Gandhi Sandeep Saxena

There were also promises to step up spending on education to six per cent of GDP, make top education institutions accessible to all and strengthen public healthcare system.

The 54-page manifesto unveiled by the Congress here on Tuesday promises to reduce poverty, expand welfare, address rural distress, increase employment, jumpstart the economy and bring greater distributive justice over a period of five years.

Senior Congress spokespersons and former cabinet ministers P Chidambaram and Jairam Ramesh said at a press conference that the goals were achievable with wise and competent government that the party would provide.

‘War on poverty’

Earlier in the day, unveiling the document, Congress President Rahul Gandhi said the manifesto is based on five big promises — promises of justice to different sections of the population — the poor; the farmers; the youth and the unemployed; ailing, who access healthcare; and, the ordinary citizens, who feel scared and threatened.

“Our first promise is to transfer money — ₹72,000 per year — into the accounts of five crore poorest households for a period of five years,” Rahul Gandhi announced, saying the party was declaring a war on poverty.

He said that vacancies in the government sector would be filled rapidly to reduce unemployment. The proposal is to fill four lakh central government and institutional vacancies before March 2020, create 10 lakh ‘seva mitra’ positions in every gram panchayat and urban local body and launch a water bodies restoration mission and wasteland regeneration mission to create one crore jobs. There is also a proposal to guarantee up to 150 days of work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, bring the Constitutional Amendment to reserve 33 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha and legislative assemblies in the first session of the reconstituted House, and amend service rules to reserve 33 per cent of appointments in the Central Government for women.

The manifesto document for plan of action is divided into sections titled Kaam, Daam, Shaan, Sushashan, Swabhimaan and Samman.

There were also promises to step up spending on education to six per cent of GDP, make top education institutions accessible to all and strengthen the public healthcare system.

On finding resources to fund Nyuntam Aay Yojana or minimum income support programme, the expanded MGNREGA and increased spending on health and education, Chidambaram said that the country has enough capacity to attempt ambitious programmes. He pointed out that the economy was expanding, and even if it expanded at “the current sedate pace”, GDP would expand from the estimated ₹210 lakh crore for the current fiscal year to about ₹400 lakh crore in five years.

‘Inclusive manifesto’

Rahul said the manifesto was based on inputs from consultations held with the people of the country and experts, and not just on the opinion of the party. The manifesto was also vetted by former prime minister Manmohan Singh, former president of the Congress party Sonia Gandhi and former defence minister AK Antony. Congress chief said his only instruction to the 19-member manifesto committee led by Chidambaram was that it should reflect the wishes of the people and that it should be truthful.

The Congress manifesto has also promised to unshackle businesses and make the environment friendlier for starting up new businesses.

Published on April 02, 2019

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