The Congress manifesto for the Karnataka Assembly polls today promised to create one crore jobs and spend Rs 1.25 lakh crore on irrigation over the next five years if re-elected to power. Releasing the “People’s Manifesto” at a function here, Congress president Rahul Gandhi described it as the “voice of the people of Karnataka” and not a document prepared by “three or four people in a closed room”.
He took potshots at Narendra Modi, saying while the prime minister likes to tell people his “mann ki baat”, this manifesto contained the “mann ki baat” of the people of Karnataka. Taking a dig at the BJP, Gandhi said the manifesto that the saffron party will release will not be for the people of Karnataka and reflect the views of the RSS.
The Congress president claimed that the Siddaramaiah government had fulfilled 95 per cent of the promises made in the manifesto released ahead of the 2013 polls. The elections in the state are scheduled on May 12. The strength of the Assembly is 225, including one nominated member. Some of the important peromises mentioned in the manifesto were:
The manifesto said the Congress, if voted to power, would create an “agricultural corridor” in the state with its 10 different agro-climatic zones and other natural advantages, offering immense opportunities for high growth in agriculture and allied sectors.
The corridor would focus on improving production and productivity, reducing production cost and wastage, increase value addition, price stabilisation, organic farming,integrated pest management and high unit value realisation in export markets, among others, it said. Affirming the Congress’ commitment to a “malnutrition- free Karnataka,” the manifesto assured the people of a right to health services for all.
It promised 50 per cent increase in”employability and creation of 15-20 lakh jobs per year and”reduction in professional tax. The Congress also said it would endeavour to raise the employment level of women to 50 per cent in the government workforce and supply free sanitary napkins to girl students of government colleges and polytechnics, besides abolishing tax on sanitary pads.
The women police force would be increased to 33 per cent with three per cent reservation for transgenders, it said.
On law and order front, the manifesto promised to ensure effective implementation of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act and community policing at all police stations. The manifesto also said the Congress will bring in prison reforms and set up one-stop crisis centres for women.On corruption, it said steps would be taken to improve delivery of services and establish a civic rights club. It also promised a single-window project clearance.
The manifesto made a commitment to food security and to draft a blueprint to utilise for 80 tmcft additional water in the Cauvery basin. It assured to expand the IT sector and build high-tech IT talent, besides increasing the number of start-ups. It also”promised to give subsidy to start-ups.
On education, the manifesto also spoke of setting up good quality schools and government-aided coaching institute for competitive exams, besides promoting Kannada language across the state. It also spoke about implementing a “vana kaval yojana” scheme in forests to reduce man-animal conflict.
Gandhi said the manifesto had been made by going to every single district, block, community and region of the state.
“And we have not gone to the people of Karnataka and told them this is what we want to do. We have gone to the people of Karnataka and asked them what do you want your government to do,” he said.
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, KPCC president G Parameshwara, Congress leader in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge, AICC general secretary in-charge of the state K C Venugopal and former Union minister Veerappa Moily, who headed the committee to prepare the manifesto, were present on the occasion.