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Poll manifesto: BJP promises, 2009 and 2014, Congress sees ‘cut-paste’ job
* 100 smart cities. A pucca house to each family by 2022 with piped water supply, electricity, a toilet and access
* Diamond Quadrilateral, a network of high-speed bullet trains
* Sagar Mala project for ports
* Logistics network for faster movement of goods
* Team India concept, with PMO and states to work together; a regional council of states
* National Rural Internet and Technology Mission for use of tele-medicine and mobile healthcare in rural areas; e-health authority to leverage telemedicine and mobile healthcare
* Madrasa modernisation scheme. Better market linkages for traditional artisanship. A peaceful environment, where there is no place for either perpetrators or exploiters of fear. A permanent Interfaith Consultative Mechanism under religious leaders
* Rurban, a programme to bring urban amenities to rural areas while retaining the soul of the village
* A web-based disability registration system with a universal ID so that government benefits can reach every such person. Higher tax relief for family member taking care of the disabled
* Acid attack victims welfare fund
* National Health Assurance Mission
* Sanitation ratings to measure and ranks cities and towns on sanitation and reward best performers.
* FDI in select defence industries
* PM Gram Sinchayee Yojana to reduce farmers’ dependence on rains
* Institutes of Rural Development
* A central university dedicated to Himalayan Technology besides a national mission on Himalayas
* War memorial to recognise gallantry of soldiers
* Infrastructure development along LoC in Sikkim and Arunachal Pardesh
* Women ITIs
* Ram Mandir and Ram Setu, but position more nuanced:
* Ram Mandir. While the 2009 manifesto talked of the “overwhelming desire of the people in India and abroad to have a grand temple at the birthplace of Sri Ram in Ayodhya” and the intent to explore all possibilities including negotiations and judicial proceedings to facilitate it, the 2014 manifesto says the BJP reiterates its stand to “explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution” for the Ram temple. This nuanced position retains a commitment to a temple but implies it will not be through unconstitutional means.
* Ram Setu. While the 2009 manifesto said the BJP will look for an “alternative alignment for the proposed Sethu-Samudram Channel Project”, the 2014 one says the strategic importance and thorium deposits besides the cultural value of Ram Setu will be “taken into consideration while taking any decision on SSCP”
* The cow and its progeny
* Preventing encroachment of Waqf properties
* Abrogation of Article 370.
* National Judicial Commission
* Simultaneous assembly and LS polls
* National identity cards for all
* Country-specific foreign policy outline for neighbouring countries
* Reservation for economically weaker general class
* Any mention of “religious conversions” and “population stabilisation”
A lot is common between the Congress and BJP manifestoes, with the former alleging a “cut-paste” job:
New middle class: The Congress manifesto promises legislation including right to health, pension, affordable and quality housing and social security for Rahul Gandhi’s target population of 70 crore comprising largely unskilled and semi-skilled, service-providing people below the middle class but just above the poverty line. And the BJP manifesto says: “A whole new class has emerged. Those who have risen from the category of poor and are yet to stabilise in the middle class, the ‘neo middle class’. This class needs proactive handholding.”
Apprentice Act: The Congress manifesto talks about reforming the 1961 Act to encourage more firms to hire apprentices. The BJP says “we will revisit the Apprenticeship Act to facilitate our youth to earn while they learn”.
Cities: The BJP promises 100 new “smart cities; the Congress manifesto “100 new urban clusters around existing small and emerging cities with power and transport facilities…”
Connectivity: The Congress promised high-speed broadband links across all towns and gram panchayats. For the BJP, “deployment of broadband in every village would be a thrust area.”
Economy: The Congress said there is no room for any aversion to foreign investment, the BJP says it will allow FDI in every sector barring multi-brand retail. Both promise goods and service tax bills.
Education: The Congress said it will move the focus from Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (educatio for all) to Shreshth Abhiyan for quality education. The BJP says it will strengthen and expand the former. Both promise interest-free or low-interest education loans.
Youth: National Youth Commission from the Congress, National Youth Advisory Council from the BJP.
Rail: High-speed rail from Congress, bullet-train network from BJP.
Labourers: The Congress talks of smooth flow of remittance through the Aadhar card. The BJP says it will issue identity cards to unorganised-sector labourers for quality health and education services.
Common to both: Women’s reservation, hostels for working women, recovery of black money, e-governance, judicial accountability bill, multi-modal integrated public transport systems, fight against anaemia, end of open defecation with a toilet in every household, check on encroachment on Waqf properties, and grooming of sporting talents.