Congress manifesto: Rohith Vemula Act, Caste census, federalism, cash transfer are highlights

Congress manifesto promises ’unconditional cash transfer of ₹1 lakh annually to poor families under ‘Mahalakshmi Scheme‘ that will go to women

BySouth First Desk

Published Apr 05, 2024 | 1:21 PMUpdatedApr 05, 2024 | 1:24 PM

Congress manifesto

If voted to power in Lok Sabha elections 2024, Congress has promised to enact the ‘Rohith Vemula Act’ to address discrimination against students from oppressed communities in educational institutions.

Named after Rohith Vemula, a PhD scholar at the University of Hyderabad, whose suicide triggered protests over caste discrimination, Congress’ promise of law is aimed at equity and social justice.

The Congress released its manifesto named ‘Nyay Patra’ for the 2024 Lok Sabha election on Friday, 5 April, promising to ensure the representation of people belonging to marginalised communities in all sectors of society.

It also promised to ensure federalism in the country underlining that India cannot be administered by the Union government alone.

“India’s fabric of federalism stitched together by mutual trust between the Union and States has been systematically destroyed by the BJP/NDA government,” the grand old party claimed in its manifesto.

The manifesto released by Congress focused on seven factors and assured to address all the issues pertaining to these factors.

Also Read: Congress’ mega rally in Hyderabad to re-assert that it’s still on a roll

Assures caste survey

In its manifesto, the Congress has said it will conduct the caste survey to enumerate the castes and sub-castes and their socio-economic conditions.

It also said that the 50 percent cap in reservation for SC, ST and OBC communities would be removed and will ensure a 10 percent reservation for people belonging to the EWS category.

The grand old party also promised to completely eradicate the practice of manual scavenging.

Congress said it will uphold the fundamental right to practice one’s faith and the rights guaranteed to religious minorities under Articles 15, 16, 25, 26, 28, 29 and 30 of the Constitution.

It also said it would launch a Mahalakshmi scheme to provide ₹1 lakh per year to every poor Indian family as an unconditional cash transfer.

“We will reserve one-half (50 percent) of central government jobs for women starting in 2025,” the Congress said.

Congress said it would give a legal guarantee to the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) announced by the government every year, as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission adding that it would restore the subsidy for diesel for sea-going fishing communities.

“The Commission for Agricultural Costs and Prices (CACP) will be made a statutory body,” it said.

Also Read: PM Modi has delivered ‘confrontational federalism’: Congress slams Centre

‘Will replace cess raj’

Affirming that it will replace the “cess raj” of the Modi government, which “deny states their rightful share of tax revenues by introducing a law to limit Union cess and surcharges to 5 percent of gross tax revenues”.

The party also said that it would redesign the Goods and Services Tax (GST) by introducing a GST 2.0.

“The new GST regime will be based on the universally accepted principle that GST shall be a single, moderate rate (with a few exceptions) that will not burden the poor. The GST Council will be re-designed. It will be the final authority on policy and on all matters relating to GST,” it said.

Congress said that it would instruct the Finance Commission to consider factors such as demographic performance and tax efforts in determining the shares of states in the devolution of central tax revenues.

“We will work with state governments to evolve a formula to devolve funds, including a share of GST revenues, directly to panchayats and municipalities,” the party said.

It said that it would ensure full statehood for Jammu and Kashmir and Puducherry, and special category status to Andhra Pradesh as promised on 20 February, 2014.

Andhra Pradesh was bifurcated in 2014 to make Telangana a separate state and the Andhra Pradesh Reorganisation Act, 2014 said that a special category status would be given to Andhra Pradesh.

Also Read: Kharge launches Congress’ ‘Ghar Ghar Guarantee’ initiative

Right to Apprenticeship Act

The Congress guaranteed a new Right to Apprenticeship Act to provide a one-year apprenticeship with a private or a public sector company to every diploma holder or college graduate below the age of 25.

Apprentices will get ₹1 lakh a year, it said.

It also said that it would amend the Right to Education (RTE) Act to make education from Class I to Class XII in public schools compulsory and free.

The Congress said that it would ensure that the sports bodies in the country would be formed by following certain norms and principles.

It also assured that the sports bodies will be made to comply with the norms of the Olympic Charter, allow for autonomy and full accountability, and provide recourse for members and sportspersons against discrimination, bias, sexual harassment, abuse, wrongful termination, etc.

“Congress will provide sports scholarships of ₹10,000 per month to talented and budding sports persons below the age of 21,” it said.

The party also said that it would amend the Press Council of India Act to ensure self-regulation of media.

“Congress will defend independent journalism by enacting laws to protect journalists from coercive action by the state,” it said.

The grand old party also said that it has set itself an aim of doubling the GDP of the nation in the next 10 years.

It also said it would address the issues of environment and climate change with the seriousness they deserve.

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)