Congress manifesto 2019: What it says on national security, defence spending, ex-servicemenhttps://indianexpress.com/elections/congress-manifesto-2019-what-it-says-on-national-security-defence-spending-ex-servicemen-5654420/

Congress manifesto 2019: What it says on national security, defence spending, ex-servicemen

Congress Manifesto 2019 for Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Congress party pledged to address anomalies, if any, in the OROP scheme for ex-servicemen in the Armed Forces, and improve social security, education and health facilities for the paramilitary forces and their families.

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Congress manifesto:  In its manifesto, the Congress Party promised to “keep a vigilant eye on the security situation”.  (Representational)

Congress Manifesto 2019: The Congress on Tuesday announced its manifesto for Lok Sabha elections 2019, in which they put special emphasis on security of the country. The party promised to “keep a vigilant eye on the security situation”. They said that they would reverse the trend of declining defence spending, and ensure that it is increased to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces. They also pledged to expedite all modernisation programmes in a transparent manner, address anomalies, if any, in the one-rank-one-pension scheme for the ex-servicemen in the Armed Forces, and improve social security, education and health facilities for the paramilitary forces and their families. Congress would put in efforts to maintain the law and order situation so that all the citizens and visitors feel secure in this country, the party manifesto said.

Here’s what the Congress manifesto says on national security, border security, ex-servicemen and internal security

National Security

01. Congress will reverse the trend of declining defence spending under the NDA government, and will ensure that defence spending is increased to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces. We will expedite all modernisation programmes of the armed forces in a transparent manner.

02. Congress promises to take strategic and hard measures to defend the territorial integrity of India and ensure the safety of our people.

03. The concept of national security in the 21st century has expanded beyond defence of the territory to include data security, cyber security, financial security, communication security and security of trade routes. Congress promises to evolve suitable policies to address each of these subjects.

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04. Congress will establish the office of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to be the principal adviser to the Government on matters relating to defence.

05. Congress will provide a statutory basis to the National Security Council (NSC) and the
office of National Security Adviser (NSA). Their powers and functions will be defined under the law and both authorities, and the agencies under them, will be accountable to Parliament.

06. The BJP government left the National Security Advisory Board in limbo between January 2015 and October 2016 and then truncated the body. Congress will re-establish the NSAB, provide a statutory basis to the body, appoint experts from different disciplines and ensure that it will function as a permanent, professional advisory body advising the NSC and the government.

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07. Congress promises to rapidly expand domestic capacity to manufacture defence and security equipment. We will create manufacturing capacities in the public sector and in pre-qualified, security-cleared private sector companies.

Internal Security

01. The key to internal security is intelligence, analysis and quick response. Congress had put in place the Multi-Agency Centre and the NSG regional hubs. Congress had also proposed to establish the National Counter-Terrorism Centre and NATGRID. The BJP government dismantled the preparatory work and wasted 5 years. NCTC was put in the cold storage and NATGRID is yet to be made operational. Congress promises that NCTC will be set up within 3 months and NATGRID will be made operational by December 2019.

02. The most serious threats to internal security emanate from (1) terrorism, (2) infiltration of militants, (3) Maoism or Naxalism and (4) caste or communal violence. Congress believes that each of these threats deserves a separate and distinct response. a. We promise an uncompromising approach and hard measures to put an end to terrorism and to the infiltration of militants. b. In the case of Maoism, the Congress will resolutely fight violent activities. At the same time, Congress will address developmental challenges in the areas concerned, enlist the support of the people and win over the Maoist cadres. c. In the case of caste or communal violence, Congress will put down such violence with a firm hand using the police forces at its command, apprehend the instigators and bring them to justice. There will be no room for self-appointed vigilante groups and moral policing brigades.

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03. Congress will work with State Governments to increase the strength of State police forces, fill all vacancies, equip and train them, and deploy them impartially to maintain law and order and to detect and punish violators and instigators.

04. Congress promises to take strong action with respect to crimes against women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and minorities. The law will be applied on the perpetrators without fear or favour. They will not be allowed to walk on the streets with a sense of impunity.

05. Congress will hold the District Administration responsible for riots, caste or communal violence, large scale crimes against women, and for the widespread breakdown of law and order.

Border Security

1. We will increase the strength of border guarding forces—BSF, SSB, ITBP and Assam Rifles—and post them on or close to the border to prevent infiltration, illegal immigration and smuggling.

02. We will construct modern, well-equipped Integrated Border Outposts to provide good working and living conditions for the forces. The distance between 2 border outposts will be reduced. The period of posting in high altitude border outposts will be reduced to 3 months at a time.

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03. We will accelerate the construction of border roads along all borders of India, especially, the India-China border. We will enhance the capacity of the Border Roads Organisation and create separate divisions to build roads along the India-China and the India-Myanmar borders.’

For the ex-servicemen

01. Under the UPA Governments, Congress accepted the principle of One Rank One Pension (OROP) and took 3 steps in 2006, 2010 and 2013 towards implementing the same. In February 2014, the UPA Government decided to close the gap for all retirees in all ranks. Ex-servicemen believe that the BJP Government has not implemented OROP to their satisfaction. Congress promises to remove the anomalies in the implementation of OROP.

02. Congress promises to formulate and implement a policy of compensation to the families of martyrs that will include full pay and allowances, funding children’s education, a government job for a member of the martyr’s family and suitable monetary compensation.

03. Congress will formulate and implement a policy that will allow Armed Forces personnel, who retire after a period of colour service or earlier, lateral entry into the civil services based on their qualifications. 04. We will also allow Armed Forces personnel who retire before the age of 40 years to enter the Central Armed Police Forces at suitable levels based on their qualifications and physical fitness.

05. Congress promises to substantially expand the capacity of the Armed Forces medical corps and hospitals to cater to the needs of ex-servicemen and their families.

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06. Congress will revise the procedure to determine the disability of injured armed forces person- nel and make the determination final subject to an appeal only at the instance of the disabled person. All pending appeals filed by the Ministry of Defence will be withdrawn.