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Cong promises jobless grant for Uttarakhand youth

Kavita Chowdhury  |  New Delhi 

Party set to announce goody bag for voters in election manifesto tomorrow.

To woo voters in the election-bound hill state of Uttarakhand, Congress is promising to introduce an ‘unemployment allowance’ — ranging from Rs 750 to Rs 2,250 a month — to educated unemployed youth. The party’s election manifesto would be released tomorrow, and it was set to announce a slew of measures for developing the economy of the state, sources said.

With the ruling BJP in the state facing the anti-incumbency factor, Congress is confident of a victory. And to bolster its chances of winning, Congress is unfurling a bag of goodies in its election manifesto. Congress drew its manifesto after assessing the socio-economic condition of the state and the reasons for discontentment among the people, party sources said.

The unemployment allowance will benefit about five lakh youth in the state. Science graduates and post-graduates would get 50 per cent more allowance than general graduates.

Women would get an additional 50 per cent allowance. While such a scheme would be a first for Uttarakhand, other states like Assam, Haryana and Kerala already have unemployment allowances, though the sum given is small.

To arrest large scale emigration from the hills, which arises due to small land holdings, Congress has promised to assist the farmer by taking steps to make farm produce more profitable through organic cultivation. It has promised to bring about a system of certification of organic produce for organic fruits and vegetables. Congress has also promised to develop a seed processing zone in the fertile Terai Belt.

For a state that was carved out of Uttar Pradesh with the aim to develop it as the “Switzerland of India”, Congress believes BJP did very little to further the tourism potential of the state. Congress, while proposing to promote eco-tourism, will also ensure balanced development for the state, party sources said.

Congress has also promised to develop the existing airport at Dehradun into an international airport.

As far as power needs of the state is concerned, Congress, in its election manifesto, will promise adequate power supply to farmers. It promises to completes all pending power projects within three years.

While Congress hopes to capitalise on the corruption-tainted track record of the BJP in the state — with the party being forced to replace former chief minister Ramesh Pokhriyal with BC Khanduri.

In 2007, BJP bagged 35 of the 70 seats in the Assembly while Congress bagged 21. In 2009 general election, Congress bagged all five parliamentary seats.

First Published: Fri, January 13 2012. 00:05 IST