Congress releases 2019 LS election manifesto

New Delhi:  The Congress on Tuesday released a 53-page manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections promising good governance, freedom from indebtedness to farmers, protecting existing jobs while creating new ones and implementing anti-corruption laws without bias.

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, the manifesto was released by Congress President Rahul Gandhi, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in the presence of senior party leaders.

The Congress promised to launch MGNREGA 3.0 to address issues of water security, soil quality and similar issues that aggravate farmers’ distress.

“To this end, we will increase the guaranteed days of employment up to 150 days in cases where 100 days have been achieved in a block/district; and use MGNREGA labour in the Waterbodies Restoration Mission and the Wasteland Regeneration Mission,” the manifesto said.

It pledged to give the highest priority to protecting existing jobs and creating new ones.

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.”

The Congress will provide a Minimum Income Support Programme (MISP) or Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) under which Rs 72,000 a year will be transferred to the poorest 20 per cent families in India.

The party promised anti-corruption laws “without discrimination”.

It said a Congress government will investigate several deals entered into by the Modi government, in particular the Rafale deal. It will also probe the circumstances under which scamsters were allowed to leave the country.

The party promised a new Ministry of Industry, Services and Employment.

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.

The Lok Sabha elections will be held in seven phases between April 11 and May 19.

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