Freebies galore in the Congress’ Delhi election manifesto

Published : February 04, 2020 15:10 IST

At the Congress party’s manifesto release function in New Delhi on February 2. Photo: PTI

It is raining freebies for voters in Delhi. Continuing with the trend of promising free sops that was started by the Aam Admi Party, the Congress has also promised free electricity, free metro rides and free education in its manifesto for the Delhi Assembly election. It was released by interim party president Sonia Gandhi on February 2. Present on the occasion were senior leaders Rahul Gandhi, former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the party’s State unit chief Subhash Chopra.

The Congress party has gone a step ahead and announced a generous unemployment allowance for educated youth: Rs.5,000 for graduates and Rs.7,500 for postgraduates a month.

Free electricity up to 300 units, free health care, including medicines, diagnostics, hospitalisation and outpatient department (OPD) expenses, form a major component of the party’s manifesto. The Right to Healthcare Act, for providing quality universal health care through a network of public hospitals and enlisted private hospitals, incidentally, is an important promise in the Congress manifesto. The party has promised to double its expenditure on health care to 3 per cent of GDP by 2023-24.

Quality education for all is another key component in the manifesto, promising free education from Class I to Class XII in government schools. The party would ensure that schools had adequate infrastructure and qualified teachers. To achieve this, the allocation for education would be doubled to 6 per cent of GDP by 2023-24.

The party also announced its intention to challenge the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in the Supreme Court. The manifesto says: “If voted to power we will not implement NRC, NPR in Delhi in the current form.”

Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY), which was a major promise during the Lok Sabha election, has once again been reiterated. It promises the transfer of Rs.72,000 a year to the poorest 20 per cent households in India. It will be transferred to the woman in the household, as far as possible.

Continuing with its focus on jobs, the manifesto promises to make job creation the no.1 priority, both in the public and private sectors. The party has announced that it would ensure the creation of 34 lakh jobs in the public sector and fill up all the four lakh Central government vacancies before March 2020. It has also promised the creation of 10 lakh new Seva Mitra positions in every gram panchayat and urban local body.

The manifesto also promises to take several steps for the welfare of farmers as well. They include ensuring remunerative prices, lower input costs and assured access to institutional credit. The party has promised a separate “Kisan Budget” every year. A permanent national commission on agricultural development and planning has also been promised.