Unemployment dole,free laptops for students in Cong’s ‘youth’ manifesto

Desperate to come back to power in Himachal Pradesh,the Congress on Friday promised allowance to educated unemployed youths,free laptops to meritorious students,hike in the daily wages and social security pensions and regularisation of the contractual employees in five years.

Written by Ashwani Sharma | Shimla | Published: October 20, 2012 6:36:49 am

Desperate to come back to power in Himachal Pradesh,the Congress on Friday promised allowance to educated unemployed youths,free laptops to meritorious students,hike in the daily wages and social security pensions and regularisation of the contractual employees in five years. In the its manifesto for the upcoming Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections,the Congress vowed to ensure a transparent and accountable government with zero tolerance to corruption and promised to investigate all scams that took place under the BJP government.

“A public Grievances Commission will be appointed to deal with citizen’s grievances and punish officials failing to redress them in a time bound manner,” Sharma said.

However,the manifesto released by Union Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma is silent on issues like price rise,FDI in retail,special industrial package for the state and providing additional subsidised LPG cylinders. Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit,AICC general secretary Birender Singh,PCC president Virbhadra Singh and CLP leader Vidya Stokes were also present during the function.

With focus on youth,the manifesto promised unemployment allowance of Rs 1,000 to all unemployed youth possessing 10 Plus Two and graduation degrees with annual family income not exceeding Rs 2 lakh,while handicapped unemployed graduate youths will be given an unemployment allowance of Rs 1,500 per month.

Sharma said a new scheme -Rajiv Gandhi Digital Student Yojana – will be launched under which 10,000 students of X and XII who perform exceptionally well in the board exams will get free laptops while those standing first in Class VIII in every school would be given learning laptops. He also promised free bus passes for the students to reach their schools and colleges.

A university dedicated to journalism and mass communication and nano technology centres will be set up in the state and loan for education for higher education would be advanced at 4 per cent interests to enable students to pursue higher and technical education.

Sharma said if the party came to power,it would set up Skill Development Corporation with an outlay of Rs 500 crore and create 1,00,000 job opportunities annually,but made no reference of creation of new jobs in government and public sector. The manifesto also promises to revive State Administrative Tribunal with two circuit benches at Mandi and Dharamshala. The Tribunal was abolished by the BJP government.

It proposes to increase the daily wages to Rs 200,while social security pension will be hiked to Rs 600 from the current Rs 450.

To woo fruit growers,the manifesto said private investments would be encouraged to create infrastructure in integrated cold chains,grading and packaging and agro and food processing. Efforts would be made to enhance import duty on foreign apples by including apple in the list of special category product to secure the interests of local growers.

The manifesto also promised to set up international airport at Shimla,village based judicial system,e-courts in the panchayats,four-laning of Shimla-Hamirpur Pathankot National Highway by 2016 and a Baddi-Chandigarh fast rail corridor.

The party,if returned to power,would formulate a new industrial policy for the state to attract investments.

The manifesto,meanwhile,is quiet on Himachal Pradesh’s fight to get Rs 4,000 crore arrears of its 7.19 per cent share in the Bhakra-Beas Management Board (BBMB) as per the Supreme Court’s decision in September 2011.

About the BJP government,the Congress said it had systemically and mercilessly plundered resources,misused central funds and encouraged mafia rule. “The Congress will inquire into all such activities and fix accountability,” the manifesto reads.

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