Fighting Lok Sabha polls with its back to the wall, Congress on Wednesday promised in its manifesto an ambitious six-point charter of pro-poor measures, including the right to affordable healthcare, housing and pension, and to uplift 80 crore of the population to the middle class.
The Congress will introduce basic rights and welfare package for all working people. Our priority will be to bring India back to 8% inclusive growth path. There will be zero aversion to foreign investment. We will bring "Direct tax Code" and "Goods and Services Tax" Bills, which will increase aggregate revenue. Our detailed "Jobs Agenda" will ensure 10 crore new jobs.
Protecting the interests of labour
We will ensure health insurance and pension cover for the entire labour class. There will be special focus on labour working in hazardous industries. All migrant labourers will be covered under the Aadhaar programme within one year. The Unorganised Workers' Social Security Act, 2008 will be implemented in letter and spirit.
Right to health
The Congress will bring Right to Health and ensure everybody has access to quality healthcare. Health expenditure will be increased to 3% of GDP. Functional toilets will be ensured for every school and household. We will introduce a three-year diploma course in public health. By 2020, our target is to create 6o lakh new jobs in the health sector.
Empowering scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward classes
We will ensure the passage of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2013 provide 1,000 annual overseas scholarships and Skill Development Vouchers of Rs. 10,000 to unemployed graduates. We aim to establish a Special Commission to identify communities that have not benefited from reservations.
Women's empowerment and protection of children
Our top priority will be the Women's Reservation Bill and strict implementation of the Child Labour and the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act's."One Stop Crisis Centres" for women will be set up in all hospitals. We will ensure all police stations have at least 25% women staffers. We will pass a Citizens' Charter for Women's Safety.
We will endeavour to pass the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill. Like the Maulana Azad Educational Fund, a corpus will be created to promote entrepreneurship and skill development of minorities. We will enhance our focus on providing reservations for minorities in educational institutes and government jobs.
Youth and student agenda
All development functionaries like Anganwadi workers and Auxiliary Nurse Midwives will be provided adequate compensation. A Universal Pension Scheme will cover elderly, destitute, widows and other similar groups. All habitations with a population of 125 persons or above will be connected by roads. Drinking water will reach all rural areas. Panchayat funding will be increased and all land records digitised.
Agriculture and farmer welfare
The Congress will provide its wholehearted support to farmers and continue to nurture the PPP for greater agricultural productivity and exports. Coverage of crop insurance schemes will be increased. We will establish a Ministry of Fisheries to help families dependent on fishing. Concessional loans, up to Rs. 5 lakh, will be provided to collectives of small, marginal and women farmers.
Accelerating manufacturing and industrial growth
We will prioritise the implementation of the National Manufacturing Policy to enhance share of manufacturing in GDP to 25% by 2022. We will ensure speedy completion of the Industrial Corridor project. Our focus will be on attracting new investments for job creation, within 100 days of government formation. An "E-biz Project" will provide single window platform for all investors.
We pledge to spend US $1 trillion on upgrading infrastructure. We will launch a "National Road Transport Safety Programme." It will be our endeavour to connect all million-plus cities through High Speed Rail and coastal terminals and ports through adequate rail-road network.
We commit ourselves to tackling India's urban development challenges. The Congress will ensure that Mayors and Municipal Chairpersons have fully functional powers so that they can operate as CEO's with executive powers and responsibilities. We will revisit issues surrounding under-franchise of urban areas so that constituencies can be adjusted to reflect population changes.
We want to give all poor households the "Right to Homestead". Indira Awaas Yojana will be expanded to cover all poor rural households. Rajiv Awaas Yojana will be expanded to cover all poor urban households. We will make efforts to ensure that title deeds are given to those who have been living on lands for more than two decades.
Environmental accountability is essential. Through "Green National Accounts" we will ensure costs of environmental degradation are clearly reflected in national accounts. A "National Environmental Appraisal and Monitoring Authority" will also be set up. Cleaning of rivers will be done on a large scale and a "National Mission on Wind Energy" will streamline efforts to harness wind energy.
Innovation, information and communication technology
"Democratisation of Information" is our next goal. It will revolutionise service delivery, citizen interface and accountability. "Aapka Paisa Aapka Haath" platform will ensure time bound delivery of benefits and prevent corruption. All Panchayats will be connected with high-speed broadband connectivity and advanced wireless communication systems will be set up for better disaster management.
"The Prevention of Corruption (Amendment) Bill" will give more teeth to state-agencies fighting corruption. The "Prevention of Bribery of Foreign Public Officials and Officials of Public International Organizations Bill, 2011" will bring foreign organizations under its ambit. The "Public Procurement Bill, 2012" will regulate all public procurements by the Central government.
Recommendations of the Administrative Reforms Commission will be implemented in letter and spirit. A special monitoring system will be put in place for timely disposal of all cases involving elections. The Judicial Appointments Bill and the Judicial Accountability Bill will establish a transparent method of appointing judges. We will work towards decriminalizing consensual sexual relations between adults of the same-sex.
Left Wing Extremism will be dealt with a firm hand. We will strengthen our security forces deployed in LWE affected areas by augmenting equipment, infrastructure and manpower, while also pursuing a development agenda to empower locals.
Defence and welfare of ex-servicemen
We shall work towards giving a fresh impetus to our existing manufacturing capabilities, while also exploring new avenues for expansion of military potential. We will also establish a "National Commission for Ex-Servicemen" to oversee implementation of welfare schemes meant for families of Ex-Servicemen.
We will strive to mobilize support for India's permanent membership in the UN Security Council. To counter terrorism, we will focus on intelligence sharing, cutting out financial flows to terrorist outfits, and stopping money laundering.
26 March 2014