Congress releases manifesto ahead of Punjab polls
The Congress released its manifesto for the upcoming polls in Punjab yesterday. It was released by former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress's party chief in Punjab, Amarinder Singh in Delhi and simultaneously in Chandigarh by Manpreet Badal. The manifesto has a little something for every section of voters: here are some of the key commitments made by Congress.
Sops for the farmer community
Under the scheme of 'Karza-Khurki Khatam', Congress has issued receipts to 34 lakh farmers and has promised a complete waiver of debt. In addition to registering farmers for debt waiver, the farmer community has now been offered 25,000 tractors and other agricultural equipment at subsidized rates. State government will be the guarantor for the loans which need to be repaid in 5 years.
More sops for agriculture
In addition to waiving off the total rural debt amounting to Rs.67,000 crore, Congress manifesto has promised to continue to give free power to farmers and will also increase crop compensation and insurance.
Employment, Quota and Education
One member of every household has been promised a job and Congress has promised to create 25 lakh jobs if elected. The unemployed have been promised a monthly unemployment allowance of Rs.2500. One third of all government jobs including contractual appointments, in the state will be reserved for women. Free-education has been promised to girls and all students would be entitled to free textbooks.
6% state GDP to education
Congress has committed to allocating 6% of state GDP to the education sector. One-third seats in government colleges would be reserved for meritorious/poor/SC/OBC students. Girls studying in Class 1 - PhD will be entitled to free education.
Social empowerment and drug problem
Homeless families or those earning less than Rs.5 lakh annually will be given land or free houses. Minorities will be given loan waivers if they undertake self-employment to sustain themselves. To deal with the pervasive drug problem, the government has committed to providing free rehabilitation to drug addicts and also providing them with skill training at de-addiction centres.
Trade and Industry
The manifesto promises setting up of an industrial corridor between Amritsar and Chandigarh; demarcating a new land bank for industrial development and ensuring special budgetary allocation to boost industry.