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Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Photo: PTI
Congress president Rahul Gandhi. Photo: PTI

In poll-bound Karnataka, Congress manifesto promises 1 crore jobs

Congress manifesto, released by Rahul Gandhi, for the 12 May Karnataka assembly elections also proposes to double farmer income

Mysuru: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Friday released the party’s manifesto for the 12 May Karnataka assembly elections in Mangaluru.

The 52-page manifesto proposes to double farmer income and constitute a statutory farmer’s income commission to ensure basic livelihood for farmers, agricultural labourers and agricultural households if the party returns to power in the state.

It also promises that every child in the state will be guaranteed 12 years of school education of good quality and that all college-going students between the ages of 18 and 23 will be given a smartphone.

The party also released a regional manifesto which focuses on catering to specific promises in different regions of the state.

“This is the voice of the people of Karnataka. This is not a manifesto made by three or four people behind closed doors," Gandhi said after releasing the document.

With the assembly polls to be held in about two weeks from now, the release of the Congress manifesto by the party’s national president is an indication of the importance of these elections for the party, both nationally and in the state which is one of the few still under its rule.

Gandhi went on to attack the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its yet-to-be released manifesto, saying that he expected there will be a lot of “unwritten" aspects in the BJP manifesto which would include a “certain amount of corruption".

The Congress, which has taken on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Gujarat Model of Development’, promises to create 15-20 lakh jobs every year to achieve the target of 1 crore jobs at the end of five years.

The manifesto lists the party’s achievements and contributions to the country since independence and during the tenure of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre.

It also lists the sectors it will focus on if it returns to power in the state, beginning with agriculture and going on to education, energy, governance, health and nutrition, irrigation, law and justice, social justice, women’s empowerment and child development.

The party proposes to launch an initiative for developing sustainable agribusiness through an ‘Agricultural Corridor for Karnataka’, which will focus on productivity, value addition, genetically modified crop varieties, integrated pest management, greenhouse technology and post-harvest management.

The manifesto proposed to raise budgetary allocation for health from current level of less than 0.9% of GDP to at least 1.5% of GDP in the course of 5 years.

On governance, the manifesto lists elimination of corruption as one of its targets. The document said it will propagate alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, and curb communalism – a “Communal Violence Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation of Victims Act will be brought on the lines of the bill brought by the central government during the UPA regime.

“Restore the powers of the Lokayukta to take suo motu cases and ensure zero tolerance of corruption," the manifesto said.

Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah has been criticised in the past for diluting the powers of the Lokayukta and empowering the Anti-Corruption Bureau, an agency directly under his office.

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