Cong manifesto links MGNREGA with pensions for farmers

Cong manifesto links MGNREGA with pensions for farmers

Congress leaders are mulling inclusion of linking UPA's flagship rural jobs scheme MGNREGA with agriculture as means of providing succor to farmers who are battling high debts.

The Congress Manifesto Committee for Lok Sabha polls, chaired by former finance minister P Chidambaram, has received suggestions to modify MGNREGA to include day-to-day agricultural activities such as ploughing, sowing, weeding and harvesting in the work list.

Also on the table is granting poor farmers above a certain age some kind of pension to take care of their needs at an advanced age. "Even granting them Rs 500 per month would make them important in the household," a member of the Manifesto Committee told DH.

The NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, too, had drawn up plans to link MGNREGA with agriculture, and had asked a committee of chief ministers chaired by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to submit a report in this regard.

Addressing a rally in Bhopal earlier this month, Congress President Rahul Gandhi has already declared that if elected to power, a Congress-led government would waive loans of distressed farmers across the country.
In his interaction with academics last week, Rahul asked college lecturers and professors to approach the manifesto committee with their demands. He said the committee will hear out different stakeholders and their views will be part of the manifesto.

The Congress is also expected to launch a website to collect views of voters even as party leaders fan out to different parts of the country to sense the pulse of the people on various issues.

The manifesto committee formed 20 different sub-groups, comprising agriculture, small businesses, young professionals, minorities, trade and economy, and urban development issues which will be part of the party’s election document.

The manifesto will also reflect people’s opinion on demonetisation and "faulty" implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and how the Congress plans to address the difficulties arisen out of the two key decisions of the Modi government.