New Delhi: The Congress party on Saturday indicated clearly that farm distress and unemployment are going to be the two key issues which it is likely to raise in the crucial Lok Sabha polls next year.
Stating its intent to focus on these two areas, the Congress party, during the ongoing plenary session, released a one of a kind resolution on “Agriculture, Employment and Poverty Alleviation" in which it detailed its stance on all the issues.
Interestingly, the party has sought to link all the three issues together and focused on how the key to growth in other sectors will be through revival of agriculture growth. “The party believes that for economic growth and job growth to be sustainable, revival of agricultural growth is critical as rural consumption is a key driver for economic and job growth," it said in the resolution.
Captain Amarinder Singh, Punjab chief minister and senior party leader, unveiled the resolution on Saturday and announced that one of the key offering by the party would be to bring a ‘loan waiver scheme for all small and marginal farmers’ on the pattern of the farm loan waiver program of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government in 2009. It announced intent to provide interest free loans to cover input costs to tenant farmers, sharecroppers and farmers owning and cultivating up to two hectares of land.
“The Indian National Congress expresses deep concern over the unprecedented and severest agrarian crisis staring the country today... The Indian National Congress resolves to bring in a farmer centric paradigm shift in the Indian agriculture and restore profitability, taking a humanitarian and compassionate approach to enhance farmer’s incomes, ensuring dignity to farmers, good education to their children, healthcare to their families and financial and social security through pensions to farmers and farm workers," it added.
The eight page resolution, which has the tone of an election manifesto, has sought to make promises linked to generating more employment particularly through expansion in organised and unorganized sectors as well as skill training. “The Congress shall take all possible steps for job expansion in the organized and the unorganized sector by boosting domestic consumption, putting back exports on the high growth trajectory and focusing on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as our engines of growth," the resolution added.
The resolution focused on youths and generating more employment opportunities for them. It also took note of how almost two-thirds of the country is under the age of 35 and so the party will focus on creating “sector-specific job growth agenda" for both urban as well as rural India.
“The Congress shall focus its poverty alleviation policies on the bottom 30% of the population, irrespective of their social background. Mindful of the fact that some sections of society like scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and other backward castes and especially the women have higher incidence of poverty, they will receive special focus of our policies," the resolution added under the section on poverty alleviation.