The Congress party on Thursday released its manifesto for the Rajasthan assembly polls that promises farm loan waiver, reviving the stalled Barmer refinery project, three-year tax holiday for new industries established in tough terrains and promised protection to retailers and wholesalers.
Rajasthan Congress chief Sachin Pilot, former chief minister Ashok Gehlot and manifesto committee chairman Harish Choudhary released the manifesto in Jaipur, which also promises loan waiver to farmers within 10 days of the Congress forming the government in the state, jobs to youths and free education to women.
The Congress claimed it consulted 200,000 people to formulate the manifesto. Pilot said the Congress intends to give Rs 3,500 monthly allowance to unemployed youths in the state.
Apart from that, the party hopes to unseat BJP’s Vasundhara Raje-led government in the December 7 polls. Rajasthan has not returned an incumbent government since 1993.
In its election campaign, the Congress has criticised Raje government for its failure to provide jobs and rein in agrarian distress. The BJP released its manifesto on Tuesday, which promised creation of 30,000 government jobs annually and 5 million jobs/self-employment opportunities in the private sector in the next five years.
The Raje government had waived off farm loans of over 2.9 million farmers after sustained protests. During its tenure, the government had faced the brunt of several strikes by government employees.
For farmers, the Congress promises pension to senior citizen farmers, cheap power and agriculture processing centres. It commits to taking steps for export of onion, garlic, guar gum and cotton.
It said Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) would also cover farm work as well as promises to establish a spice board and a 'kisan' commission.
Moreover, the Congress manifesto promises to take steps to resolve the problem posed by stray cattle to standing crops, introduce an effective crop insurance and ensure procurement on minimum support price. A Congress government would provide farm loans at low interest rates, it said.
Furthermore, it promises more devolution of power to panchayati raj institutions, and doing away with the Raje government introduced minimum educational qualification to contest panchayat and urban local bodies elections.
The manifesto said the Congress would review implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, or MNREGA, to ensure the work done under the scheme leads to creation of permanent assets; and expedite MNREGA payments.
The manifesto has several promises to improve education, offers sops for government employees and commits to better implementation of forest rights and food security laws.
It has said that new industries set up in tribal, hilly and desert areas will be exempt from state government taxes for three years. The manifesto reiterated that the Congress party was committed to identifying 5 per cent jobs under the OBC category to Gujjar, banjara and some other castes.
Other promises include increase in senior citizen pension, fresh survey to identify poor households, a permanent 'group of ministers' to listen to grievances of government employees, a public grievances law, effective quasi-judicial system and a designated place in cities for protests and demonstrations.
Unlike its Madhya Pradesh manifesto the Rajasthan manifesto does not mention that it would encourage sale of gau mutra, or cow urine.