Apart from NYAY and four other major promises, Congress manifesto promised that it will undertake several other policy changes if voted to power.
New Delhi| The Congress party released its manifesto for the upcoming 2019 Lok Sabha election today. The manifesto was released in the presence of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and party’s manifesto committee chairman P. Chidambaram and other senior leaders. The manifesto primarily focuses on five major themes that were on Congress agenda for quite some time.
- NYAY Scheme – The congress called the scheme a surgical strike on poverty. It promised to give Rs 72,000 per year to families whose income is less than Rs 12000 per month.
- 22 lakh government vacancies will be filled in one year.
- Entrepreneurs won’t need any permission for starting a business in 3 years.150 days of work guaranteed under MNREGA.
- 6% of GDP to be spent on education, No to private insurance companies and public health to be strengthened
- Focus on National security and internal security
However, apart from these five big promises, the 55-page document explores policies planned for every sector in detail. Here are the 10 such least talked about promises you should know about.
- Replacing ‘Swachha Bharat Abhiyan’ with ‘Nirmal Bharat’
The ‘Swachha Bharat Abhiyan’ is the pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The Congress in its manifesto promised to replace it with Nirmal Bharat. The project was also started in the UPA era. The party had accused the Modi government of changing the name of the project.
2. Ending Manual Scavenging within 3 years
The deaths due to manual scavenging have been a prominent issue. According to a reply filed by Union Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment Ramdas Athawale in parliament this year, 144 deaths were recorded in Tamil Nadu alone followed by 71 deaths in Uttar Pradesh. The Congress in its manifesto promised to end manual scavenging in three years and promised to allocate funds to procure machines that will clean sewers and septic tanks.
3. Passing new law in the first parliament session to punish ‘Hate Crimes’
From Akhlaq in Dadri to an engineer killed over the rumour of Child Abduction, the cases of ‘Mob lynching’ have been on the rise across the country. Congress promised that it 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.
4. A special wing of the state police for communal riots, gang rapes and lynchings
Congress promised a crackdown on vigilante groups and moral policing brigade. Congress said it will hold the District Administration responsible for riots, caste or communal violence, large scale crimes against women, and for the widespread breakdown of law and order.
5. Withdrawing Citizenship Amendment Bill
The Citizenship Amendment Bill brought in by the Modi government faced strong resistance from the states of the north-east. The new bill amends the Citizenship Act, 1955 to make illegal migrants who are Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan, eligible for citizenship. Simply, illegal migrants from these three countries who are non-muslim can now be Indian citizens. Congress promised to withdraw the Citizenship Amendment Bill.
6. Reducing the presence of Army in Jammu and Kashmir, moving the armed forces to the border areas
The Congress manifesto promised to review the deployment of armed forces, move more troops to the border to stop infiltration completely, reduce the presence of the Army and CAPFs in the Kashmir Valley, and entrust more responsibility to the J&K police for maintaining law and order.
7. Removing Sedition law
Congress in its manifesto promised to omit the archaic Section 124 A, Sedition law.
8. Replacing the NEET exam with state-level exams
The NEET exam for the medical students was one of the prominent issues in Tamil Nadu. Congress manifesto said, “The NEET examination is discriminatory against students from certain States. In addition, it interferes with the State Government’s right to admit students domiciled in the State to medical colleges
in that State.” The manifesto said the party will take measures to dispense with the NEET examination and substitute it with a State-level examination of an equivalent standard, approved by the competent authority for admission to medical colleges in that State.
9. Voluntary AADHAR linking
After it came to power, the Modi government aggressively pushed for linking AADHAR for banking and other public services. Many rights groups opposed it citing the incidents of exclusion on the basis of non-linking of AADHAR and infringement on the Right to Privacy. Congress said that it will make AADHAR voluntary.
10. Upholding ‘Net Neutrality’ and regulation against ‘Fake News’
With widescale digitization, came the menace of ‘Fake News’. The issue is not limited to India, however, has had a significant impact on Indian civility. Congress Manifesto promised to pass regulations to stop the spread of fake news and hate speech. The party promised that it will uphold the principle of ‘Net Neutrality’.