The issue of unemployment and poverty has acquired prominence in the Congress party manifesto for the Lok Sabha polls, while the BJP has chosen to focus on national security, zero-tolerance against terrorism, and sustainable creation of job opportunities.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah on Monday released the party''s manifesto, though also talks of creating employment opportunities, but largely veers around the mission of national security, which is pivotal to a nation''s sustainable development.
The Congress party has betted on the minimum income support programme (MISP) or Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) scheme, which is expected to cover around five crore families, constituting the poorest 20 per cent of the population. Under NYAY, each such family will get Rs 72,000 annually.
"All 4 lakh vacancies as on April 1, 2019, in the Central government, Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs), judiciary and parliament will be filled before the end of March 2020," reads the Congress manifesto, which also promises to create one crore jobs through "Water Bodies Restoration Mission" and "Wasteland Regeneration Mission."
BJP in its manifesto talks of creating "new opportunities for employment by providing more support to 22 major ''Champion Sectors'' identified as the main drivers of Indian economy and optimally leveraging the untapped employment-generation of the potential sectors such as defence and pharmaceuticals to take advantage of opportunities available in domestic and foreign markets."
BJP also aims to bring down the percentage of families living below the poverty line to a single digit in the next five years. It has also promised to ensure ''Pucca'' houses for the families either living in ''mud'' houses or without access to housing by 2022.
Doubling farmers'' income by 2022 is another prominent promise of the BJP, for which the party has made a plethora of interventions including a pension scheme for farmers, and interest-free Kisan credit card loans. The Congress party, on the other hand, promises farm loan waiver in other states on the pattern of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Rajasthan governments.
''Make In India'' and ''Swachh Bharat Mission'' which were the core issues of the BJP for 2014 Lok Sabha elections, but have now found a place on 18th and 20th pages of its nearly 40-page manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress promises to review and replace the current GST laws with a ''GST 2.0 regime'' based on a single, moderate, standard rate of tax on all goods and services. The rate will be revenue neutral to the current indirect tax revenues of the Central and State governments.
As expected, the BJP reiterates its resolve to abrogate Article 370, which gives autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir, and annul Article 35A of the Constitution, which the party finds discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of the Valley state.
"We believe that Article 35A is an obstacle in the development of the state. We will take all steps to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for all residents of the state. We will make all efforts to ensure the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits. We will provide financial assistance for the resettlement of refugees from West Pakistan, Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) and Chhamb," reads the BJP manifesto.
The Congress manifesto promises to review the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and the Disturbed Areas Act in Jammu and Kashmir while emphasising that "dialogue is the only way to understand the aspirations of the people of the three regions of Jammu and Kashmir and find a solution to their issues."
Both the Congress and the BJP promise 33 per cent reservation to women in the Parliament and State Legislative Assemblies. "We will also amend the Service Rules to reserve for women 33 per cent of posts in the Central government," reads the Congress manifesto.
BJP is also committed to the Citizenship Amendment Bill, and protecting "the linguistic, cultural and social identity of the people of North-East."
It has promised to recognise "11 left out Indian Gorkha sub-tribes as Scheduled Tribes." It also promises to implement reservation in the legislative assembly of Sikkim for Limboo and Tamang tribes. "We are committed to working towards finding a permanent political solution to the issue of Darjeeling Hills, Siliguri Terai and Dooars region," reads the BJP manifesto.
On the other hand, the Congress promises to immediately withdraw the Citizenship Amendment Bill and to restore the special category status of North East states. The two parties are equally vocal in promising good governance, education, and health in their respective manifesto for the current Lok Sabha polls. (ANI)