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MSP, hiking 50% quota, VVPAT, no Agnipath: Congress rolls out manifesto

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
Last updated on: April 05, 2024 17:44 IST
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Right to apprenticeship, legal guarantee for MSP, passing a constitutional amendment to raise the 50 per cent cap on reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs, a nation-wide caste census and scrapping of Agnipath scheme are among the promises made by the Congress in its Lok Sabha polls manifesto released on Friday.

IMAGE: Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge along with party leaders Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi, P Chidambaram and K C Venugopal releases the party's manifesto for the 2024 Lok Sabha elections during a press conference, at AICC headquarters in New Delhi on Friday, April 5, 2024. Photograph: Rahul Singh/ANI Photo

The manifesto, focusing on five "pillars of justice" and 25 guarantees under them, was released at the AICC headquarters in the presence of Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and former party chiefs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

In the 45-page document titled 'Nyay Patra', featuring pictures of Kharge and Rahul and Bharat Jodo Yatra, the opposition party said it would implement 10 per cent quota in jobs, educational institutions for economically weaker sections (EWS) for all castes, communities without discrimination if it comes to power.

The party also promised full statehood to Jammu and Kashmir, besides giving special status to Andhra Pradesh, full statehood to Puducherry, and to amend the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi Act, 1991, to declare that the lt governor shall act on the aid and advice of council of ministers of NCT, Delhi.


It also promised to fill nearly 30 lakh vacancies in sanctioned posts at various levels in the central government and said the Rajasthan model of cashless insurance of up to Rs 25 lakh will be adopted for ensuring universal healthcare across the country.

The Congress will pass a constitutional amendment to raise the 50 per cent cap on reservations for SC, ST and OBC if it comes to power in the general elections beginning April 19, the party promised.

The party also said it will conduct a nationwide socio-economic and caste census ensuring equitable distribution among all sections as per their population. It said it will review all laws that interfere with the right to privacy and make suitable amendments to various laws to uphold the right to privacy.

Rejecting the 'one nation, one election' idea, the Congress promised that elections to the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies be held as and when they are due in accordance with the Constitution and the traditions of a parliamentary democracy.

It also promised to restore the voters' trust in the election process by amending election laws and ensure that VVPAT slips are tallied with EVMs.

The Congress said it will review the new education policy brought by NDA.

It also promised to enact a law on bail that will incorporate the principle that 'bail is the rule, jail is the exception' in all criminal laws. It further promised to introduce comprehensive prison reforms.

"The 2024 general election presents an opportunity for radically changing the style and substance of governance that has been in evidence in the past decade of Anyay Kaal. We appeal to you to look beyond religion, language and caste, choose wisely, and install a democratic government that will work for all the people of India," the Congress said in its manifesto while appealing to people to vote for it.

It said it guarantees a new 'right to apprenticeship act' to provide one-year apprenticeship to every diploma holder or graduate below age of 25, under which apprentices will get Rs 1 lakh a year.

It also promised to provide financial assistance of Rs one lakh cash transfer to a woman of poor households under the Mahalakshmi scheme.

"We will reserve one-half (50 per cent) of central government jobs for women starting in 2025.

"We will increase the wage under MGNREGA to Rs 400 per day. MGNREGA funds and workers may also be deployed to build public assets such as classrooms, libraries and primary health centres," the party said.

Besides, it said it will give legal guarantee to Minimum Support Prices (MSP) announced by the government every year as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission.

"We will immediately restore full statehood to Jammu and Kashmir. We will amend the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to include the tribal areas of Ladakh," the party stated in the manifesto.

It said it will launch an urban employment programme guaranteeing work for urban poor in reconstruction, renewal of urban infrastructure.

The party said in the document that it would abolish the Agnipath programme and direct the armed forces to resume normal recruitment to achieve full sanctioned strength.

It noted that in last 10 years the BJP has done tremendous damage by misusing the brute majority enjoyed by it in Parliament to make laws that violated the letter and spirit of the Constitution of India as well as the fundamental principles of law-making, namely, necessity, consultation, reasonableness and proportionality.

"We promise that all anti-people laws passed by the BJP/NDA without proper parliamentary scrutiny and debate, especially those relating to workers, farmers, criminal justice, environment & forests and digital data protection, will be thoroughly reviewed and changed. We will carry out complete investigations of the Electoral Bonds Scam, the reckless sale of public assets, the PM CARES scam, repeated intelligence failures at the highest levels and corruption in major defence deals," it said.

"I urge everyone to have a close look at our manifesto and you will see a shandaar tasveer (beautiful picture) of our country in it," Kharge said while addressing the gathering.

"We will open the doors to the poor when we come to power....PM Modi is taking our people and claiming '400 Paar' MPs," he added.

Only those who have done something and have fear are quitting the party to join the BJP, he said.

Kharge also wondered what kind of level playing field is there when the principal opposition party's accounts have been frozen.

Rahul Gandhi said this Lok Sabha election is a fight between forces who are trying to "destroy" the Constitution and democracy in the country and those protecting them.

He said it is a much closer contest than propagated by the media, and expressed confidence of winning the polls.

"We do believe that it is very important once this fight is won that we look after the interests of the vast majority of our people," he said, claiming that this is not a nation that will be run by 2-3 people and neither by monopolies.

Asked about who will be the prime ministerial face, Gandhi said, "INDIA bloc has decided that we are together fighting an ideological election, after winning the election, who will be the leader, the PM, the whole coalition will jointly decide."

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh said, "After a decade of Anyay Kaal, this Nyay Patra, centred on the theme of justice, will lay the path for an India that is more prosperous and equitable for all."

Manifesto committee chairperson and senior party leader P Chidambaram said the primary concern of all and what the country needs is "jobs, jobs, jobs".

AICC general secretary, organisation, K C Venugopal said the party will take its manifesto to the grassroots level and will hold public rallies in Jaipur on Saturday afternoon and Hyderabad in the evening, where top leaders would address.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024