The Congress on Saturday promised to pay off farm loans of up to Rs 2 lakh and provide a “salary grant” for five years to industries offering jobs to the youth if elected to power in Madhya Pradesh. Releasing its manifesto for the November 28 Assembly polls, the main opposition party also promised a slew of advantages for other sections of the society in the state where it is making a renewed bid to dislodge the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from power.
Aggressively wooing farmers, who had set up a state-wide protest last year, the party promised a social security pension to them and a rebate in the registration fee of land documents, besides a financial help of Rs 51,000 for the marriage of daughters of small cultivators. In its manifesto titled “Vachan Patra” (document of promises), the Rahul Gandhi-led party, out of power in Madhya Pradesh since 2003, also promised optimum support price (MSP) for crops in accordance with the Swaminathan Commission’s recommendations.
Publishing the 112-page manifesto at a press meet here, state Congress chief Kamal Nath explained it as the “voice of the people of Madhya Pradesh”, saying the document was prepared after consultations with every section of the society. The manifesto gives sops to every section of the society, comprising government employees, homemakers, the common people, women, and journalists, but the focus is largely on farmers and young people.
Among the plethora of measures for farmers mentioned in the document, the Congress has promised a social security pension of Rs 1,000 per month to farmers who attain the age of 60 and whose land holding is below 2.5 acres, besides writing off farm loans of up to Rs 2 lakh. Other sops promised to farmers covered a 50-per cent subsidy on loans for agriculture equipment, having the power bill rates for them, a bonus on the MSP of some crops and a subsidy of Rs 5 per liter on milk procurement among others.
The opposition party also promised a re-investigation into the Mandsaur police firing incident, in which six farmers were killed in June 2017. It also promised a reduction in diesel and petrol prices. Professionals like tourist guides and lawyers would be given an “encouragement fee” of Rs 4,000 per month for five years for settling down in their respective professions.
The Congress also promised a “salary grant” of Rs 10,000 per job to the industries offering employment to the youth of the state. It promised the constitution of a Yuva Aayog (Commission for the Youth) to seek into the problems of young men and women.
The Congress also promised various sops, comprising a rebate in the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and subsidized loans for setting up industries with an investment of at least Rs 100 crore. Those include under the existing social security pension scheme would get Rs 1,000 per month, instead of Rs 300 now, if the Congress was elected to power in the state, according to the document.
A subsidy of Rs 100 on gas cylinders to poor families and free education to girls up to the post-graduation level were also promised by the party. Besides, the Congress promised regularisation of daily wagers, 30 percent government contracts to tribals, setting up of a Senior Citizen Board, a law to protect journalists and lawyers, honorarium to journalists above 60 years of age, telemedicine facility in rural areas and four new medical colleges. The 230-member Madhya Pradesh Assembly will go to the polls on November 28 and the results will be announced on December 11.