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|November 13, 1998||
Congress promises peace
While the ruling Congress' manifesto promises to 'continue maintaining peace' in Mizoram, the opposition parties want to provide a stable government 'based on justice and clean, efficient administration'.
The Mizo National Front and the Mizoram People's Conference have jointly promised that the scheduled area status to the entire state would be restored.
The Congress, for its part, assured that all foreigners would be deported.
Giving a clear hint about how the Reang issue would be tackled if it returns to power, the Congress said, ''We will strongly oppose any attempt to disintegrate Mizoram in the name of a particular ethnic section by politically motivated groups.''
The MNF-MPC combine and the Congress have, however, struck the same chord in stressing the need for including the Mizo language in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.
The MNF-MPC promises to safeguard Mizoram's socio-cultural and religious interest and uphold national integrity, while the Congress laid stress on preserving the sprit of unity among all ethnic tribes.
The Congress manifesto said, ''We are much concerned to notice that whenever the Congress is not in power at the Centre, there is religious oppression and the very foundation of the Church is shaken. We shall continue our efforts for religious freedom and stand firmly by the endeavours of the National Christian Council."
In its programme for economy and industry, the MNF-MPC manifesto stressed the need to find profitable markets and make budget provisions for indigenous products.
The manifesto seeks to revise the industrial policy to encourage the private sector, and open up more areas for setting up new industries.
Significantly, all political parties are in favour of developing agro-based industries in the state.
The Congress also promised to amend forest and revenue acts to facilitate the utilisation of fertile river banks and land near the highways.
''We will continue to make concerted efforts with the help of experts like the Tata Economic Consultancy Services, M S Swaminathan Research Foundation and other agencies which are preparing projects for us to take Mizoram to a new era of development.''
The MNF-MPC wants to introduce a new education policy in order to improve quality.
The Congress, in its programme for youth, says those selected for the all India services and central service through competition would be given cash awards and certificates.
In the package for women, the MNF-MPC promised to raise their status and strengthen the Women's Commission. Reservation for women in accordance with national agenda also found place in the joint manifesto.
The Congress said the Women's Commission set up by the government to look into the welfare and emancipation of the fair sex shall be assisted by the government to make it more effective.
''We shall set up a women development corporation,'' it said.
Promising to implement the 'health for all' by 2000, the MNF-MPC sought to establish a state referral hospital and encourage medical experts to pursue post-graduate studies in other states and abroad.
Without much deviation from the oppositions' programme for health, the Congress promised to increase health facilities.
The Congress said the newly formed districts, sub-divisions and rural development blocks would be provided with necessary infrastructure within a year to make them functional. Reorganisation of districts and sub-divisions would also be undertaken.
Promising a transparent and responsive government, the Congress manifesto also underlined that departments dealing with economic and social services would be given priority.
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