With an eye on the 2017 Punjab assembly election, the Aam Aadmi Party on Sunday unveiled its ‘Youth Manifesto’ promising 25 lakh jobs in five years, free Wi-Fi hotspots in villages and a special law for ensuring imprisonment till death for drug dealers.
Delhi Chief Minister and AAP National Convener Arvind Kejriwal unveiled the party’s manifesto for the youth. The party, which is aiming to capture power in the state, will come out with separate manifestos for different sections of society.
“Our endeavour is to make the Punjab youth job creators, instead of job seekers,” the party said in the manifesto, prepared by Punjab Dialogue Committee Chairman Kanwar Sandhu, adding that 25 lakh jobs and employment opportunities will be created in the next five years. AAP, if it forms government in the state, will create employment and entrepreneurship opportunities in both rural and urban areas, it said.
The party has also promised to make the administration corruption-free. “AAP government will launch a massive drive to root out corruption from all levels of administration and restore the credibility of the government of Punjab and the prestige of the state as the pre-eminent destination for setting up businesses, industry and trade,” it said.
AAP will also set up 147 entrepreneurship and skilling centres, one in each block of the state. Special emphasis will be laid on agriculture and allied industries, including food processing, dairy farming and horticulture.
Incubation centres, called Punjab Launch Pads, will be set up in 10 major cities -- Mohali, Batala, Pathankot, Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar, Bathinda, Hoshiarpur, Ferozepur and Amritsar.
“This will help the youth of Punjab turn their dreams of becoming innovators and entrepreneurs into reality with access to technology, infrastructure, finance, industry mentors and market opportunities,” the party said.
Foreign Employment Youth Board with five branches in Jalandhar, Amritsar, Mohali, Ludhiana and Sangrur will be established to advise and train the youth for foreign jobs.
A skill university, called Kanshi Ram Youth Skill University, will be set up in Doaba region, with two regional campuses in Malwa and Majha. The university will conduct advanced studies in skill development.
Free Wi-Fi hotspots will be set up in all villages, cities and government colleges. This will provide connectivity to hundreds of thousands of youths in both rural and urban areas, it said.
AAP, if comes to power, will root out the mafia raj from government contracts. No MP, MLA, minister and their relatives will be eligible for government contracts. Youths will be preferred for the award of government contracts, it said.
On the issue of drug menace, the manifesto states that AAP, if voted to power, will “annihilate” the drug supply chain within one month of forming government.
A special law will be enacted to give imprisonment till death for drug dealers. Assets of all such convicts would be seized and auctioned, it said.
“A special drug task force will be created within Punjab Police at state and district levels for crackdown on sale and supply of drugs and high-level investigation will be launched to investigate the involvement of politicians and police officers in drug trade,” AAP promised in its manifesto.
All “politically motivated and false cases” against youths will be withdrawn. Action will be taken against guilty policemen and politicians for “implicating” the youth of Punjab in “false” cases, it said.
A round-the-clock anti-drug helpline number will be started.
Trade and industry will be incentivised in different ways to encourage them to give jobs to rehabilitated drug addicts. This step aims at bringing the victims of drug trade back into the mainstream and enable them to lead a normal life, it said.
Free de-addiction treatment will be provided in all government de-addiction and rehabilitation centres. Methods of de-addiction in all government and private de-addiction centres will regulated and standardised, it said.
All candidates contesting local body and panchayat polls will have to compulsorily sign an affidavit declaring themselves to be “drug-free”.
“We will also campaign for appropriate changes in the Representation of People’s Act to make it mandatory for the assembly and parliamentary election candidates to also sign similar affidavits,” the party said.
The party also said no fee will be required for applying to government jobs, it said.
Job Qualifying Exam Centres will also be set up in every district headquarter to make them easily accessible to job seekers from far flung areas. Interviews will be done away with and selection will be done purely based on merit to root out ‘sifarish’ (favouritism) and graft, the party promised.
Punjab is set to witness a three-cornered fight in the assembly election. Ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance, Congress and AAP are the main contenders.
AAP also promised to make a substantial increase in the state’s budget for education.
“The Aam Aadmi Party wishes to make government schools and colleges the first choice of students and parents,” it said in its youth manifesto, adding that bus travel will be free for students.
Bus services exclusively for girl students will be started, it said. CCTV cameras will be installed in government schools.
On admission to Class IX, students will be given laptops under the chief minister’s student benefit scheme.
“All private education institutions in Punjab will have a mandatory annual audit for greater transparency in their functioning. Private schools will be disciplined and arbitrary and unreasonable fee hike will be stopped,” it said.
“Our government will enact a law to end exploitation of teachers in many non-government schools to ensure quality teaching in private schools too,” it said.
Three new medical colleges with training facility for nursing and para-medical will be established. The existing three medical colleges will be upgraded by increasing their
seats, it said.
An institute for film and media studies will be established in Mohali to cater to the increasing interest of Punjabi youth in film and television industry.
“Punjab Olympic Mission” will be launched in 2017 to motivate and encourage sportspersons to earn laurels for the state, it said, adding that reward for those winning medals in sporting events will be enhanced.
For those winning gold, silver and bronze medals in Olympic Games, prize money will be hiked to Rs 5 crore, Rs 4 crore and Rs 3 crore respectively from Rs 1 crore, Rs 50 lakh and Rs 25 lakh at present, the party promised.
Image: AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal releasing 51-point Youth Manifesto in Amritsar. Photograph: PTI