With the first phase of assembly elections in Jharkhand a week away, Congress released its manifesto Sunday, promising a one-time farm loan waiver of up to Rs 2 lakh and law to deal with lynching cases. Only two states in the country— Rajasthan and Manipur presently have laws to check the mob lynching menace.
The manifesto focuses on core issues like farmers’ welfare, food security, healthcare, education and related sectors, with an emphasis on improving the Human Development Indicators (HDI) of the state.
— Jharkhand Congress (@INCJharkhand) November 24, 2019
Talking of farm loan waivers, Congress leader RPN Singh, while announcing the manifesto, promised to free the distressed farmers from the clutches of money lenders and make the process of institutional loans easier.
“An effective ‘Kisan Fasal Bima’ will be introduced and adequate compensation to agriculture produce affected by pests and natural calamities will be provided, and modern tools and fertiliser will be given to farmers on suitable prices,” the manifesto said.
Talking about the preservation of the tribal identity of the state, Congress has promised that it would propose to the Union government to provide a separate code in the census for the Sarna community.
“Majority of the tribals are neither Hindus, nor Muslims, nor Christians. They have a different system of worship and have been demanding a separate code. We will make all efforts to ensure Sarna is recognised as a separate religious code before the 2021 census,” it said.
Congress also stated that it would repeal the amendments made by the government in the Land Acquisition Act, 2013 and landowners would be guaranteed compensation at “four times the market rate” in case of land acquisition.
The manifesto also promises to introduce a stringent law to ensure the security of journalists in the state. “We will enact a Journalist Safety Law to guarantee freedom safety and security to media personnel, especially those working in conflict areas or investigating matters of public interest and whose lives are threatened or otherwise in danger,” it said.
Interestingly, the Raghubar Das-led government unveiled a scheme in September seeking “story ideas” from journalists on the government’s “labhpradat”, or beneficial schemes and said it would pay them Rs 15,000 each in case they are “selected”.
The Congress has formed an alliance with Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) to contest the five-phase assembly elections between November 30 and December 20 to the 81-member Legislative Assembly.