Expanding NREGA on Congress manifesto checklist

P Chidambaram, Chairman, Manifesto Committee for Lok Sabha polls, Indian National Congress. (PTI file photo)

Congress leaders are mulling for the inclusion of linking UPA’s flagship rural jobs scheme MGNREGA with agriculture as means of providing succour 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 a pension to take care of their needs.
 
“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, Congress would waive the 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 Congress manifesto would hear out different stakeholders, and their views will be part of the manifesto.
 
Congress is also expected to launch a website to collect views of voters. Even party leaders fan out to different parts of the country to get an idea about the pulse of the people on various issues.
 
The manifesto committee has formed 20 different sub-groups like agriculture, small businesses, young professionals, minorities, trade and economy and urban development issues.
 
The manifesto will also reflect 'people’s opinion' on demonetization and “faulty” implementation of the Goods and Services Tax and how the Congress plans to address the 'difficulties' arisen out of the two key decisions of the Modi government.

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Expanding NREGA on Congress manifesto checklist

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