Rajasthan Assembly polls: Cong promises caste survey, interest-free loans in manifesto

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge with Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot and State Congress President Govind Singh Dotasara releases the party's manifesto for the State Assembly elections, in Jaipur, Tuesday, November 21, 2023. Photo: PTI

Jaipur: The Congress on Tuesday released its manifesto for the Rajasthan Assembly polls, promising a caste survey and a slew of schemes for farmers and youth, including 10 lakh job opportunities, and a new scheme for recruitment at the panchayat level.

Doubling the amount for beneficiaries under the Chiranjeevi Health Insurance scheme from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 50 lakh annually and interest-free loans up to Rs 5 lakh to small traders are among the other announcements made in the Congress manifesto for Rajasthan elections.

The party also promised reservation to minorities based on their population after the caste census. Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, PCC chief Govind Singh Dotasra, chairman of the manifesto committee CP Joshi and former deputy CM Sachin Pilot jointly released the manifesto at the party office here.

Highlighting the salient points of the manifesto, Joshi said the Congress wants to create a cadre of Panchayati Raj-like state and central services and a new policy for recruitment at the panchayat level will be brought. He said 10 lakh jobs will be created and four lakh among them will be in the government sector.

For farmers, interest-free loans up to Rs 2 lakh will be given from cooperative banks and MSP will be given as per the Swaminathan Commission's recommendations.

The party promised 150-day employment under MGNREGA in place of the present 125 days annually, inclusion of taxi drivers in the Gig Workers Act, Accountability and Auto Service Delivery Act for accountable and good governance, formation of inclusive policy think tank and monthly honorarium to Panchayati Raj public representatives.

The manifesto lists seven guarantees that have already been announced by Gehlot, which include an annual honorarium of Rs 10,000 to women head of family, LPG cylinders for Rs 500 to 1.05 crore families, purchase of dung from cattle rearers for Rs 2 per kg, law for old pension scheme (OPS) for government employees, laptop or tablet to students taking admission in government colleges, insurance cover up to Rs 15 lakh per family to compensate losses due to natural calamities and school education in English medium.

Kharge said all promises made in the manifesto would be fulfilled on the formation of the Congress government. We make promises which we can fulfil, he asserted.

Accusing the prime minister and BJP of lacking in commitment, Kharge said even though Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat for over 13 years and has been the prime minister for the last nine years, there are many "shortcomings" in Gujarat even today and the reason is "lack of commitment".

There are many shortcomings in Gujarat where a person remained the chief minister for 13 years and the same person is the prime minister. The reason (for shortcomings) is lack of commitment, he said.

Kharge rejected the allegation that he had abused the prime minister's father, dubbing him as 'Jhooto ka Sardar' (leader of liars). Modi tries to gain sympathy by putting words in others' mouths, he claimed.

Gehlot said Rajasthan has progressed in the last five years and stands at number two in the country and first in north India in terms of economic growth. The economy of Rajasthan will be Rs 15 lakh crore by the end of this year and the target has been set to take it to Rs 30 lakh crore by 2030, he said.

He said the per capita income in Rajasthan has increased while sectors like manufacturing have also seen growth under the Congress rule.

Gehlot said that when he became the chief minister for the first time in 1998, the election manifesto was made a government document by passing in the first cabinet meeting and the same practice was followed by him later on.

Rajasthan is going to polls on November 25 and results will be declared on December 3.

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