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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

In Delhi, Congress borrows AAP’s power subsidy scheme, promises 300 units free

Launching the Delhi Assembly poll manifesto at the party's headquarters on Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg on Sunday, DPCC president Subhash Chopra said, “We will make electricity free till 300 units. From 300-400 units, we will give a discount of 50%, for 400-500 units it will be 30%, and for 500-600 units, there will be a 25% discount.”

Written by Ananya Tiwari | New Delhi | Published: February 3, 2020 3:02:27 am
 Delhi elections 2020, Delhi Congress elections Manifesto, Delhi elections Congress AAP, Election news Delhi, indian express news Gowda, Maken, Chopra and Sharma at the manifesto launch Sunday. (Express photo: Abhinav Saha)

Taking a leaf out of the Aam Aadmi Party’s power subsidy scheme, the Congress has promised to provide subsidised electricity up to 600 units, with free electricity for those consuming up to 300 units.

Launching the Delhi Assembly poll manifesto at the party’s headquarters on Deen Dayal Upadhyay Marg on Sunday, DPCC president Subhash Chopra said, “We will make electricity free till 300 units. From 300-400 units, we will give a discount of 50%, for 400-500 units it will be 30%, and for 500-600 units, there will be a 25% discount.”

Under the AAP-led Delhi’s government power subsidy scheme, those consuming less than 200 units a month get a zero electricity bill. Those using between 201 and 400 units per month get a 50% subsidy.

The Congress also released a green manifesto, dedicated entirely to environmental issues, which promised to allocate 25% of the budget towards combating pollution and make Delhi India’s first electric vehicle city.

The Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which the Congress has been actively opposing, also featured in the manifesto, with the party saying it will move the Supreme Court and challenge its constitutional validity.

Congress leader and manifesto committee chairman Ajay Maken said, “The BJP is trying to communalise and polarise the elections. By February 21, we will approach the SC and challenge the constitutional validity of the CAA under Article 131. In Delhi, we will not implement the proposed NRC nor the NPR in this form. The elections should be on issues of Delhi, not anything else.”

Other promises that featured in the ‘green manifesto’ include procuring 15,000 e-buses and building necessary infrastructure for depots; increasing green cover to 30%; giving Metro fares subsidies to students; targeted dust management; and creating a ‘rice stubble to energy fund’ to establish stubble crushing power plants.

“In the last five years, thousands of people died due to respiratory diseases caused by pollution, and I blame the Kejriwal government for this. We will allocate 25% of the budget to control pollution,” said Chopra.

MP Rajeev Gowda, convenor of the manifesto committee, highlighted three initiatives that the Congress will undertake for development of the youth and job creation: the ‘Rajiv Gandhi Internship Program’ to offer opportunities to young graduates; a Rs 5,000-crore fund for start-ups called Yaari Startup Incubation Fund; and a Rs 1,000 crore corpus for Homi Bhabha Research Fund to encourage research.

“These three initiatives tell you the kind of transformative impact that the Delhi Congress envisions on the potential of our youth. We will transform our youth into world-class professionals, researchers and start-up entrepreneurs,” he said.

Other initiatives they promise to undertake are the ‘Sheila Pension Yojana’, under which Rs 5,000 per month will be given to senior citizens, persons with disabilities and transgender people without any income; building 10 super-speciality hospitals in Delhi in the next five years; a Yuva Swabhiman Yojana or unemployment allowance for graduates at Rs 5,000 per month and Rs 7,500 per month for postgraduates.

Hitting out at AAP’s policies, Chopra said, “The AAP has not used 40% of its budget allocated to education and health.”

On the electricity subsidy, Maken said: “Punjab gives Rs 7,500 crore in electricity subsidy — three times that of Delhi. The way we did it successfully in Punjab, we will do it in Delhi too.” He added that electricity will be given at subsidised rates for non-polluting industries to draw them into Delhi.

He also said that instead of the subsidies going to private companies (discoms) like the AAP government initiated, the Congress will give it to the people through direct benefit transfer method.

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