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The Rediff Special / George Iype

April 09, 2004

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance released its election manifesto on Thursday.

How is it different from the Congress document? looks at both documents to explain what the two major political contenders are offering.

The NDA's 36 page manifesto is titled 'An Agenda for Development, Good Governance and Peace'.

The 32 page document of the Congress is titled 'Time for Change: Progress with Congress'.

The cover
The Congress manifesto has party president Sonia Gandhi among rural women and children.

The NDA's has a beaming Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

NDA: Confident steps towards making India a developed nation and a great power.

Congress: Congress Ka Haath, Aam Aadmi Ke Saath (The Congress is with the common people).

National security
NDA: Eliminate cross-border terrorism, make India riot-free, set up an agency to deal with federal crimes, make the Rs 50,000 crore Defence Modernisation Fund operational, consolidate peace and development in Jammu and Kashmir and the Northeast.

Congress: End cross-border terrorism, modernise the defence forces, make the National Security Council a professional institution, and implement the recommendation of the K Subramanyam Committee on the Kargil War.

Foreign policy
NDA: Continue
dialogue with Pakistan on all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, work for setting up a South Asian Economic Union, consolidate partnerships with the United States and Russia, and secure permanent membership of the UN Security Council.

Congress: Begin dialogue with Pakistan on all issues, including Jammu and Kashmir, expand trade and investment relations with China and the countries of East Asia, engage the US in scientific, technological, and strategic cooperation, and strengthen SAARC.

NDA: Early and amicable solution to
Ayodhya to strengthen national integration. Accept the judicial verdict on Ayodhya. Intensify dialogue and a negotiated settlement between Hindus and Muslims.

Congress: Abide by the verdict of the courts. If negotiations are to be held between Hindus and Muslims, they must be between the parties to the dispute and must have legal sanction. And enforce the Places of Worship (Special Provision) Act, 1992, which freezes the status of all disputed sites other than Ayodhya as of August 15, 1947.

How to make India a superpower
NDA: Chalk out a seven-point strategy — make India the food factory of the world, the global manufacturing hub, the service provider to the world, the centre of knowledge industry, the global tourism destination, the global healthcare destination and the global higher education destination.

Congress: Globalisation can be meaningful only if it is aimed at local-level economic and social transformation. So the party argues that bringing prosperity to the 6,00,000 or so villages is the best way to make the country an economic power.

Goal for a developed India
NDA: Eight to 10 per cent GDP growth rate in the next five years and eradication of poverty by 2015.

Congress: Eight to 10 per cent GDP growth rate, and broad economic reforms in agriculture and industry.

Guiding principle
NDA: Faster growth with employment, equity, social justice, reduction in regional imbalances, and the urban-rural divide.

Congress: Ensure peace, social harmony, and secure economic future for every family in the country.

Information technology
NDA: Aim for $50 billion exports by 2008. Fully harness
BPO enterprises in the country.

Congress: No special promises except a pledge 'to push IT applications' in India.

Infrastructure development
NDA: Complete the National Highways Development Project, expand and modernise the railways, open sky policy to liberate India's civil aviation sector, make India the world's maritime destination, and develop 10 Indian cities as Global Cities.

Congress: Public-private partnerships will form the basis of infrastructure expansion. Modernise the railways, fully harness the country's irrigation potential, launch a national rainwater harvesting programme, and promote low-cost housing.

NDA: Create 10 million employment opportunities every year. Sustain 8-10 per cent economic growth to create more employment. Implement job schemes in 100 backward districts.

Congress: Revive economic growth and sustain it across the country at between 8 and 10 per cent per annum for well over a decade. Enact a national Employment Guarantee Act immediately. This will provide a legal guarantee for at least 100 days of employment on asset-creating public works programmes every year at minimum wage for every rural household.

Report card
NDA: Will give a regular report on the status of implementation of the commitments in the manifesto.

Congress: Every year on October 2, the Congress pledges to present a Jan Dastavejh (People's Document) on the progress of implementation of the manifesto.

Photo: Raveendran/AFP/Getty Images

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Number of User Comments: 16

Sub: About the Manifesto

I think Congress can make a fare government. The roads and other yojna's which PM Vajpayee claimed theirs is actually the gift or the debt ...

Posted by Anadi Athaley

Sub: nda maninfesto

will the nda india food factory work

Posted by kamal bakshi

Sub: corruption and lazyness - eradication

No party claims eradication of corruption and lazyway working of people throughout the country - No party has dareness to commit it to the nation.

Posted by MN Reddy

Sub: discussion on manifesto

i dont think that Any of the govt. will fulfil the needs of a layman, whatever these agenda says is just to make promises and ...

Posted by meghasingh

Sub: A single goal of development

I am happy that the core issue on which ths election is fought is not on Ayodya. I am happy that the two super powered ...

Posted by Ram Kumar


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