Free Press Journal

Gujarat Assembly Election 2017: Mouth-watering Congress manifesto


Gandhinagar: The Congress on Monday unfolded a mouth-watering manifesto as its work order for Gujarat. It has promised loan waiver and free water for farmers, housing for women, unemployment allowance for youth, reduction in taxes, halving of domestic power tariff, a bouquet of healthcare, education and social measures besides ”special benefits” to upper caste communities such as Patidars.

“The Congress will also set up a Special Investigation Team to investigate all allegations of irregularities during the BJP rule in the state — aggregating Rs 100,000 crores — as highlighted in CAG reports in the past,” State Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said.

Describing it as a people’s manifesto, Solanki said that it had addressed all the frayed nerve points of Gujarat cutting across all sections of society. The manifesto panel was chaired by Congress MP Madhusudan Mistry with inputs from Sam Pitroda.

The manifesto reiterated its commitment to the agreement reached with the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti under which a Congress government in the state will propose a Bill based on the provisions of the Constitution.

The Bill will thus provide benefits at par with the OBCs to a ”special category” of those communities mentioned in article 46 not getting benefits under the Articles 15(4) and 16(4).

For farmers, the Congress has proposed loan waiver, announcement of the MSP before the beginning of the season, 16 hours of electricity during the day and free water.

The manifesto also envisages setting up Rs 32,000 crore corpus that would provide finance to 25 lakh youth for self-employment, abolition of the fixed salary contractual appointments by the government and turning them into permanent employees and provisions of an unemployment allowance of Rs 4000 per month.

”We will provide cent per cent finance for capital investment for start-ups and also review the Foreign Direct Investment policy to protect the interest of small traders vis-a-vis the MNCs. ‘‘As in Bhutan, the Congress proposes to move towards a more inclusive indicator of progress instead of the GDP. The new mantra will be the Gross Happiness Index,’’ he added.

For women, the manifesto promises housing for all, a 24-hour toll-free phone and single-window help centre, ”pink transport”, free education from primary to higher education and fast track courts for crimes against women.

As a price curb measure, the Congress has promised a cut in taxes on petro products to bring down their prices by Rs ten a litre, 50 % reduction in power tariff for usage up to 200 units per month to Rs two per unit.