In Congress Gujarat manifesto: Patidar quota, stipend to jobless, GST exemption make the cut

The manifesto was released by state Congress affairs in-charge Ashok Gehlot, state party chief Bharatsinh Solanki and others.

By: Express News Service | Ahmedabad | Updated: December 5, 2017 5:35 am
Rahul Gandhi election campaign in Gujarat Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi (Source: AICC)

The Congress on Monday released its manifesto for the Gujarat Assembly polls with a focus on Patidars, youths and small traders.

The party promised to bring a Bill under Article 46 of the Constitution, proposing quota benefits for unreserved communities without affecting the incumbent reservation formula. It also promised unemployment allowance for jobless youths, and a request to the GST council to exempt small traders and manufacturers with an annual turnover up to Rs 1.5 crore.

The manifesto was released by state Congress affairs in-charge Ashok Gehlot, state party chief Bharatsinh Solanki and others. The Congress in its manifesto noted that Patidars would be provided reservation under the “Economically Backward Classes (EBC)” category. The party, as per the manifesto, will bring the Bill “under Article 46 of the Constitution and keeping in view the provisions of Article 31(c)’’.

According to Article 46, “The State shall promote with special care the educational and economic interests of the weaker sections of the people, and, in particular, of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, and shall protect them from social injustice and all forms of exploitation.”The manifesto also held out a “charge sheet” against the BJP, while reaching out to niche communities like nomadic, denotified and other tribes, women and youth.
It revived old announcements like the ‘Ghar nu ghar’ from the 2012 manifesto and promised to provide subsidised homes in the name of women.

On GST, implementation of which generated a lot of controversy, the manifesto said that the Congress, if it comes to power, would “pursue a proposal with the GST council to exempt small traders and manufacturers having an annual turnover of Rs. 1.50 crore in view of the limitations of small traders/manufacturers in compliance of the very difficult and complex formalities under the GST’’.

The party not only announced improvising certain schemes of the BJP-led NDA government like the Ujjwala Yojana, but also took cues from the AAP government’s initiative to cut power tariff in Delhi and the Tamil Nadu government’s ‘Amma Canteen’ initiative. The manifesto said audit of all private power companies and state electricity boards will be brought under public scrutiny and the RTI Act.

It also announced to set up a special investigation team (SIT) to probe cases like the Una incident and the Thangadh police firing. The manifesto also promised to fill all vacant positions under the reserved category as per roster system under the existing reservation policy. It also declared to built a statue of B R Ambedkar in the Bay of Cambay, taking cue from the NDA government that is building a statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at the Narmada dam site.

Agriculture

Waiving of farm loans
Remunerative MSP
Free water for irrigation

Youth

n Monthly allowance to unemployed youths: Rs 3,000 to Class XII-pass, Rs 3,500 to grassduates, Rs 4,500 to post-graduates
Women
House for every woman
One stop crisis centre in each district; 24 toll-free help line number
100% free education for girls

Education

Free education from pre-primary to PhD for poor, middle-class students
All self-finance colleges/schools to be brought under Fee Regulation Act

Healthcare

Sardar Patel Universal healthcare card; free medicines
Nutritious food, supplements for women and children, free sanitary napkins in schools food security
State taxes on petrol and diesel prices to be reduced up to Rs 10/ litre
Restarting distribution of food grains and kerosene through PDS
Rs 10 per plate food at Indira canteen

SCs and STs

Implementation of constitutional rights, forest rights and PESA Act
Land allocation to landless

OBCs

Development package for OBC dominated/backward area blocks

Traders

Exemptions in GST for small traders

Housing

25 lakh houses in 5 years
Instalment amounts to be reduced for low-income families Minorities
State minority commission will be constituted

Social Security

Equal work-equal pay
Increase in minimum wages
Widow pension, senior citizen pension

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