HP Cong woos youth with dole

Rs 1,000 for the unemployed, free laptops

Focussing on youth which constitute about 50 per cent of the electorate in the state, the Congress on Friday announced unemployment allowance and freebies in its manifesto for the Himachal Pradesh Assembly polls, due on November 4.

Releasing the manifesto, Congress leader and commerce minister Anand Sharma said an unemployment allowance of Rs 1,000 per month will be given to all class 12 passouts and graduates whose family income is less than Rs 2 lakh per annum.

But the party is silent on inflation and increasing the cap on subsidised LPG cylinders from six to nine in a year to economically disadvantaged families.

Handicapped jobless graduates will be given an unemployment allowance of Rs 1,500 per month, he said. Special emphasis will be laid to create one lakh job opportunities annually, said the manifesto.

A skill development corporation with an outlay of Rs 500 crore will be set up to tackle unemployment.

The Congress also promised to implement a new scheme, Rajiv Gandhi Digital Student Yojana. Under the scheme, 10,000 toppers of classes 10 and 12 will be provided free laptops. Students securing first position in class 8 in every school will be also be given laptops.

A university dedicated to journalism and mass communication will be set up in the state, added the manifesto. Also nano technology centres will be built in the state.
To enable students to pursue higher and technical education, the party has promised an education loan at the rate of four per cent.

It also promised to build an airport of international standards near Shimla to attract more tourists.

To woo fruit growers, the Congress said private investments will be encouraged to create infrastructure in integrated cold chains, grading, packaging, and food processing.
To promote local apples over imported ones, custom duty will be enhanced at least three times the present value.

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