Farm to jobs, women to schoolkids, health to LPG: Spot the difference in Cong, BJP manifestos | Political Pulse News

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The Congress on Tuesday announced its manifesto for Rajasthan promising a law to ensure Minimum Support Price (MSP) for crops, doubling the insurance sum under the flagship Chiranjeevi health insurance from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 50 lakh, 10 lakh jobs in the next five years, including 4 lakh government jobs, as well as CCTV cameras in public places for women safety.

Other big announcements include bringing the Vidhan Parishad to Rajasthan “for wider participation,” “stringent legal measures for hate speech” and constitution of “reconciliation and camaraderie committees at the district level to address hatred and enmity between communities.”

Releasing the manifesto, party president Mallikarjun Kharge said, “We make only those promises which we can fulfil, be it in the Centre or states,” claiming that the Congress government fulfilled 95 per cent promises of its last manifesto for the state.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot said that as many as 3.32 crore people had given online and offline suggestions for the ‘Vision 2030’ document, which also became the basis for the party’s manifesto.

The Congress’s promise of “stringent legal measures for hate speech” comes at a time when the BJP, which released its manifesto for Rajasthan last week, has promised to set up a special cell to investigate ‘anti-Bharat’ sleeper cells across the state.

Among the Congress’s immediate priorities after coming to power, those for farmers include a promise to enact a law to implement the MSP, to be called the Minimum Support Price Guarantee Act, which will implement the Swaminathan Committee’s recommendations. The government will also provide an interest-free agricultural loan facility of up to Rs 2 lakh to all farmers from cooperative banks and withdraw pending cases against farmers related to their participation in protests.

Festive offer

Gehlot said that the government will also form a commission, headed by a high court judge, which will hold a hearing before taking a decision on seizing farmlands.

Similarly, at the release of BJP’s manifesto last week, BJP president J P Nadda had claimed that the land of 19,400 farmers has been seized and that the party will formulate a policy to ensure such farmers are compensated. The BJP manifesto had also stated that a notification to ensure that no farmlands are seized will be brought out in addition to an MSP of Rs 2,700 per quintal for wheat.

With the Centre not backing the state’s demand of declaring the Eastern Rajasthan Canal Project (ERCP) as a national project, the Congress manifesto says that the government will introduce a detailed plan for its staggered implementation. The BJP manifesto did not mention ERCP.

For youth, the Congress says it will create 10 lakh employment opportunities in five years, out of which 4 lakh employment opportunities will be in the government sector. Additionally, a new scheme for the recruitment of youngsters at the panchayat level, gradually merging with government vacancies, will also be formulated. Moreover, the government will start a toll-free call centre and an e-Employment Exchange.

In comparison, the BJP has promised 2.5 lakh jobs in the next five years as well as the setting up of a Rajasthan Institute of Medical Sciences and Rajasthan Institute of Technology – modelled on AIIMS and IITs – in each division, among several other measures.

The Congress has also promised to increase the maximum number of employment days under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and Indira Gandhi Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme (IGUEGS) to 150 days annually, up from 125 days currently.

For women’s safety, the Congress promises it will ensure installation of CCTV cameras in public places and security guards will be appointed in every village and urban ward. The party also promises to take necessary steps to reduce the average investigation time in sexual harassment cases and ensure 33 per cent reservation for women in cooperative institutions as well as in the police force.

The BJP too had promised 33 per cent reservation of women in the police force, a women’s police station in every district, constitution of anti-Romeo squads, etc.

The Congress also promises to provide a free coupon every month for free travel for women in the state-owned buses, in addition to existing discounts, and says it will come up with a scheme for special leave to be availed by women during their menstrual cycle.

The Congress had earlier announced Rs 10,000 per annum for women heads of households while BJP had announced the Lado Protsahan Yojana where the government will provide a savings bond of Rs 2 lakh for a girl child.

The Congress has repeated that it will conduct a caste census “to accurately determine population and allocate benefits for informed decisions on affirmative action”.

For education, Congress says that it will provide education facilities till Class 12, instead of till Class 8, under the Right to Education (RTE) by bringing an education guarantee law in the state. The party had earlier announced free laptops or tablets for first-year students of government colleges and free English-medium school education.

The BJP has promised Rs 1,200 as direct benefit transfer to schoolchildren from economically weaker sections for their school bags, books and uniforms.

In the health sector, the Congress government will increase the amount of Mukhyamantri Nishulk Chiranjeevi Swasthya Bima Yojana from the current Rs 25 lakh to Rs 50 lakh annually and also include ‘In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) package’ under this scheme “realising the profound emotional and social challenges faced by couples deprived of the joy of parenthood”.

The party has also promised it will increase the facilities under free OPD/IPD in government medical institutions at the district and block levels.

The BJP, meanwhile, has promised to launch the Rs 40,000 crore Bhamashah Health Infrastructure Mission to expand and upgrade health infrastructure in the state. It has also promised to set up 350 Jan Aushadi Kendras and at least one medical college in each district. Recruitment of 15,000 doctors and 20,000 paramedical staff along with adding 6,000 medical seats are also among promises made by the BJP in its manifesto.

For businessmen, Congress has promised it will bring a ‘Vyapari Credit Card Scheme’, similar to the Kisan Credit Card Scheme, which will provide interest-free loans up to Rs 5 lakh to small traders, shopkeepers and young entrepreneurs.

The Gig Workers Welfare Act will be amended to include auto and taxi drivers, “creating a more inclusive welfare system”. For good governance, the party promises to enact an “Accountability and Auto Service Delivery Act” which has been long demanded by social activists in Rajasthan.

For LPG gas cylinders, the government had already announced that the Rs 500 subsidised cylinder will be extended to families under the NFSA (National Food Security Act) and BPL (Below Poverty Line) categories too. Now, the price has been reduced to Rs 400. In its manifesto, the BJP had announced cylinders at Rs 450.

While Congress says it will implement measures and stringent punishments to curb incidents of paper leaks, BJP had announced it will set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate paper leaks during Congress rule.

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The Congress party had earlier announced a law to back the Old Pension Scheme with law and strengthen it. Moreover, a Congress government, if elected, will continue its schemes such as smartphones with internet for women.

Keeping in mind the reserved castes, Congress says that it will establish an Equal Opportunities Commission “to ensure equal opportunities and fair representation”. Moreover, it will modify the percentage of reservation for SCs, STs and OBCs in accordance with the actual population to be enumerated in the census. Measures for minorities include drafting and implementation of “a robust Minority Development Policy”.

Other announcements include developing an advanced system for predicting air pollution levels, promotion of night tourism in Jaipur, leveraging medical tourism, etc.



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