Cong promises Rs 1 lakh annually to poor women, 50% quota in govt jobs if elected to power

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi speaks during the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra', at Dondaicha in Maharashtra on Wednesday. Photo: PTI/Screenshot via @INCIndia

Dhule: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday announced five "Mahila Nyay" guarantees, including Rs 1 lakh annually for the poor women and 50 per cent reservation in government jobs if his party is voted to power in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

AICC general secretary in-charge of communications Jairam Ramesh promised that if the Congress comes to power, it will bring a constitutional amendment to do away with the 50 per cent cap on reservation.

Addressing a women's rally in Maharashtra's Dhule district as part of his ongoing 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra', Gandhi announced five "Mahila Nyay" guarantees.

He said Rs 1 lakh will be deposited annually into the bank accounts of poor women and his party will provide 50 per cent reservation to women in government jobs. Gandhi promised that the central government's share in the budget for ASHA (Accredited Social Health Activist) workers, and women working in anganwadis (government-run women and child care centres) and in mid-day meal schemes would be doubled.

A nodal officer would be appointed to educate women about their rights and help in the fight for their cases, he said. The Savitribai Phule hostels will be set up for women in every district of the country, Gandhi added elaborating on his five guarantees.

The Congress leader said he had walked from Kanyakumari to Srinagar (during his previous Bharat Jodo Yatra), spanning 4,000 km and interacted with lakhs of persons. "The word 'Nyay' has been added in the second yatra from Manipur to Mumbai after farmers, youth and women told me that violence, hatred is because of injustice," the Lok Sabha member from Wayanad said.

He claimed that Rs 16 lakh crore of industrialists have been waived off, but not the debts of farmers and youth. "There is no bigger injustice than this," he said.

The Congress' "bhagidari" (participation) proposal means inclusion of all castes and communities in decision-making and sharing of resources as per their population, he said. Gandhi also claimed that women had been fooled by the Centre over reservation (in the Lok Sabha and state assemblies) as the bill pertaining to it has been passed by Parliament, but its implementation will take after 10 years. "Our government will immediately implement women's reservation," he said.

Before Gandhi's speech, Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge in a video statement said the 'Mahalaxmi' guarantee envisages depositing Rs 1 lakh directly in the bank accounts of poor women annually.

He said "Aadhi Aabadi Pura Hakk" means 50 per cent quota for women in government jobs. The Congress' guarantees are "pathar ki lakeer" (set in stone) and not a "jumla", Kharge asserted.

The central government's budgetary share for ASHA and women working in anganwadis and mid-day meal schemes will be doubled, he said. 

Kharge also said that 'adhikar maitri', or a nodal person, will educate women about their rights and help in the fight for their causes. 

Later, addressing a press conference, Jairam Ramesh said if the Congress is voted to power, it will bring a constitutional amendment to do away with the 50 per cent cap on reservation. 

He said the Scheduled Caste plan and Scheduled Tribe sub-plan introduced by the previous Congress regimes were scrapped by the Narendra Modi government. 

"We will bring a law to ensure budgetary share as per the population (of different castes and communities)," he said. Ramesh said the 'adhikar maitri' in each gram panchayat of the country will ensure 2.5 lakh women in rural areas get employment and will educate women about their rights and fight for their causes. 

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