Congress-NCP manifesto promises to tackle climate change, quota for 'bhoomiputra'

Mumbai: The third time was a charm for the release of the Congress-Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) alliance manifesto, and it finally saw the light of the day on Monday. Twice before, the release of the manifesto was stalled.

The first time, NCP city chief Nawab Malik had to call off the NCP manifesto minutes before its release in September. The second time the release was scheduled for October 2, but former chief minister and Congress leader Prithviraj Chavan said the allies were still in the midst of seat-sharing talks.

The major takeaway from the manifesto is the Congress-NCP's promise to tackle climate change, apart from farm loan waivers, unemployment subsidies and free education.

“The state has received uneven rainfall in the last few years. The water crisis and drought are the results of changing climate conditions. We will ensure the need to tackle climate change be made a constitutional responsibility,” said Jayant Patil, the NCP’s Maharashtra chief. He also assured, if their alliance wins, it will not undertake any infrastructure project that would require the cutting down of trees and they will amend stricter laws against tree cutting.

“It’s our responsibility to protect the ecology. Whatever is happening at Aarey is unfortunate, I assure, our government will not cut a single tree for the sake of infrastructure,” claimed Patil. Inspired by the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s (MNS) ideology, the grand alliance too has announced 80 per cent reservation in the regional industrial sectors for 'bhoomiputras'. However, the manifesto clarifies that 'bhoomiputra' means anyone who has lived in Maharashtra for at least 15 years and has a domicile certificate.

“Due to increasing unemployment, people are migrating from smaller districts to Mumbai and Pune. Thus, reservation is not limited to Marathi-speaking people only,” informed Patil. He also mentioned, their reservation is unlike that of the MNS principle, which is only for Marathi-speaking communities.

At the press meet, Congress president Balasaheb Thorat informed, the alliance will transform agriculture into a prestigious profession, as priority will be given to agricultural productivity and proper remuneration for producers.

“Maharashtra's farmers are in debt, they have also suffered huge losses due to floods and droughts. Our government will waive all their dues and introduce new subsidies for them too,” said Thorat.

The Congress president also informed, how rising unemployment is going unaddressed by the government -- when for 32,000 vacancies, the state receives 32 lakh applications.

“We will revive the economic condition of the state, our government will provide a Rs 5,000 monthly stipend to the unemployed over 21 years and we also assure free education till graduation,” added Thorat.

The 51-page booklet also covered social issues faced by women, children and youth, apart from urban and rural development.

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