NRC, pension for farmers, tax revision in BJP manifesto

NRC, pension for farmers, tax revision in BJP manifesto

Abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, revised income tax slabs also find a place in BJP's manifesto

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Amit Shah, display copies of their party's election manifesto for the April/May general election. Reuters

Unwavering on its core principles on Ram temple, Article 370 and Uniform Civil Code, the BJP on Monday released its manifesto committing itself to extend the contentious exercise of National Register of Citizen (NRC) across India, revision in tax slabs, pension for small farmers and Rs 126 lakh crore investment in sectors like infrastructure.

With the tagline 'Sankalpit India, Sashakt India' (Committed India, Strong India), Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with party leaders, including president Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj unveiled the 48-page manifesto that also assured sanitary napkins for all women at Re 1 and law against triple talaq and nikah halala.

Making India a ten trillion dollar economy by 2032, doubling length of National Highways, strengthening strike capabilities of military, zero tolerance to terrorism, formulation of a women in workforce roadmap, medical colleges in all districts through public or private participation by 2024 also find a place in the manifesto, which sought to blend Hindutva hardline policies with development issues and aspirations of a new middle class.

Targeting the Congress, Modi wrote in the manifesto that the vote in 2014 was for a strong and decisive government and it enabled them to fill "some of the biggest shortcomings of five decades of dynastic rule" in a short span of just five years. "Now that these shortcomings have been successfully addressed, imagine the pace at which we can work in the times to come," Modi said.

The promise of enacting Citizenship Amendment Bill, which provides citizenship to non-Muslims from neighbouring countries, also figures in the manifesto, which said the BJP would clarify concerns of the north-east population who are opposed to it.

Adding to this, it has insisted that "in future we will implement the NRC in a phased manner in other parts of the country", despite strong opposition in Assam where it is being conducted. The party reasoned that there has been a "huge change in the cultural and linguistic identity of some areas due to illegal immigration, resulting in an adverse impact on local people's livelihood and employment".

Another issue that figured was Sabarimala where the Supreme Court has allowed entry of women, as the party promised to take steps to reverse the order. "Every efforts to ensure that the subject of faith, tradition and worship rituals" related to temple in Kerala are presented in a comprehensive manner before the judges and it would endeavour to secure constitutional protection on issues related to faith and belief, it said.

As expected, the construction of Ram Temple figured in the manifesto as it promised to take all necessary efforts to facilitate its "expeditious" construction by exploring all possibilities within the Constitutional framework. Also, the BJP reiterated its demand for a Uniform Civil Code, saying without it, there cannot be gender equality.
To its commitment to the abrogation of Article 370 of Constitution that provides a special status for Jammu and Kashmir, the BJP added the annulment of Article 35A, which restricts permanent residency in the state. Modi government has been in support of annulling the provision.

For the farmers, who were at loggerheads with the NDA government, the BJP has promised to further expand the coverage of Rs 6,000 a year scheme to all farmers besides a pension scheme for all small and marginal farmers beyond the age of 60 years. It also committed a Rs 25 lakh crore investment in the farm sector.

With middle class in mind, the BJP promised further revision in tax slabs to ensure more cash and greater purchasing power in the hands of middle income families. "We will make all efforts to ensure that our aspirational middle class has access to education, employment opportunities and suitable urban infrastructure for a better quality life," it said.

One of the prominent promises was that of making capital investment of Rs.100 lakh crore in the infrastructure sector by 2024 besides a Rs 25 lakh crore investment in agri-rural sector.