Will end poverty by 2030, create jobs: Cong manifesto

Will end poverty by 2030, create jobs: Cong manifesto

Congress President Rahul Gandhi, senior party leaders Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh release party's manifesto for Lok Sabha polls 2019, in New Delhi on Tuesday. (PTI Photo)

Congress on Tuesday promised to rid the country of poverty by 2030 and tackle the challenge posed by growing unemployment, asking voters to choose harmony over hatred as it released the manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections.

The highlight of the 50-page document, released by Congress President Rahul Gandhi, senior leaders Sonia Gandhi and Manmohan Singh here, was the promise for minimum income guarantee – NYAY, a separate budget for farmers to address the issue of agrarian distress and a “shock-therapy” to re-start the stalled economy.

Rahul's attempt through the hour-long function to release the manifesto – titled 'Congress Will Deliver' – was to bring the pre-election narrative on the burning issues of jobs, economy and agrarian distress from the present focus of national security, which is seen beneficial to the BJP.

He also coined a new slogan for the election campaign -- Garibi par Vaar, Bahattar Hazaar (war against poverty, Rs 72,000).

With unemployment at a 45-year high of 6.1%, the Congress President promised to fill four lakh vacancies in the central government by March next year and request state governments to recruit 20 lakh personnel against vacancies, particularly in healthcare and education sectors.

Interacting with the media, Rahul described NYAY as the flagship scheme of the manifesto under which a future Congress government would put Rs 72,000 every year into the bank accounts of the poorest of the poor. He said NYAY was a “shock-therapy” required to re-start the stalled economy of the country.

“I will not talk of Rs 15 lakh. I will talk of Rs 72,000 every year. I will talk of Rs 3.6 lakh over a five year period,” Rahul said making it clear that he would not “spread lies” like Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Congress President dismissed criticism by the BJP the minimum income guarantee scheme was “not doable” and would add to fiscal strain.

“BJP also said loan waiver was not doable, but we did in within two days of coming to power in Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. It is not doable for the BJP, but it is possible for the Congress,” Rahul said.

Rahul said the manifesto was an outcome of extensive public consultation as well as with sectoral experts and reflected the wishes of the people.

“I had given clear instructions...the manifesto has to be truthful. I do not want a single thing that is a lie because we have been hearing large number of lies spoken everyday by our Prime Minister,” the Congress President said.

The Congress manifesto also promises to radically simplify the Goods and Services Tax regime with a single moderate rate of tax, zero rating of exports, and exemption for essential goods and services.

On education, it promised that school education from Class I to Class XII in public schools shall be compulsory and free.

Rahul also promised to pass in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha the Women's Reservation Bill giving 33% of seats for women in Parliament and state legislatures.

Congress also promised to scrap Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code that defines the offence of sedition, contending that it had been misused and become redundant because of subsequent laws.