Shimla-Indian National Congress today released its manifesto of poll promises for the Lok Sabha Elections 2019. Congress said its manifesto is not the ‘Mann ki Baat’ of one individual but the collective voice of lakhs of people. Congress claimed that between October 2018 and February 2019, a large number of people engaged in a conversation with the party in at least 16 languages.
Congress said its manifesto committee organised 121 consultations with the public and 53 consultations with experts such as farmers, entrepreneurs, economists, students, teachers, women’s groups, doctors, lawyers and many others. The party held consultations in over 60 locations across 24 States and 3 Union Territories. Congress said it also met with NRI representatives from over 12 countries.
I have personally been listening to our people’s voices from all corners of our country. Every single word in the Congress manifesto reflects your voices and the aspirations of crores of Indians
Rahul Gandhi said in the manifesto.
He said, his party will present a report to the people of India, every year, on the status of implementation of our manifesto. We will also set up an independent social audit group, which will make its own assessment of how and to what extent we have fulfilled our promises, it said.
Congress, in its manifesto, said, that the last 5 years have been disastrous for the people of India. Youth have lost jobs. Farmers have lost hope. Traders have lost business. Micro, small and medium enterprises have lost their confidence. Women have lost a sense of security, it said. Deprived communities have lost their traditional rights. Institutions have lost independence. The harshest blow is that our citizens have lost their faith in the words of the Prime Minister and his Government, Congress said.
He (PM Modi) has given us only grandiose promises, empty slogans, failed programmes, false statistics and an overall climate of fear, intimidation and hatred. In this time of deep crisis, the Indian National Congress promises a clean break from the past 5 years,
The manifesto ended with a quote from Rahul Gandhi,
I’ve never broken a promise that I’ve made.
List of Major Promises Made In Congress Manifesto
Minimum Income Guarantee To Eliminate Poverty Or Nyuntam Aay Yojana 9NYAY)
Congress will introduce the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) under which Rs. 72,000/year will be transferred to the poorest 20 per cent households in India. It will be transferred to the woman in the household, as far as possible.
Jobs To the youth of India,
Congress pledged to make jobs its number one priority, both in the public and private sector. The manifesto said Congress would ensure 34 lakh jobs in the public sector by filling all 4 lakh central government vacancies before March 2020.
Congress said it would persuade the state governments to fill their 20 lakh vacancies. The manifesto said the party would create an estimated 10 lakh new Seva Mitra positions in every gram panchayat and urban local body. It said a fillip to private sector jobs would be provided by rewarding businesses for job creation and employing more women and requiring businesses with over 100 employees to implement an apprenticeship programme
Farmers And Farm Labour
For farmers, Congress promises to put them on the path from “Karz Maafi”, to “Karz Mukti”. This will be done through remunerative prices, lower input costs, and assured access to institutional credit. A “Kisan Budget” would be presented every year. A permanent National Commission on Agricultural Development and Planning would be established, Congress said in its manifesto.
Congress promised to enact the Right to Healthcare Act and guarantee every citizen free diagnostics, out-patient care, free medicines and hospitalisation, through a network of public hospitals and enlisted private hospitals. Expenditure on healthcare would be doubled to 3 per cent of GDP by 2023-24, it said.
Congress claimed it would radically simplify the GST regime with a single moderate rate of tax, zero rating of exports, and exemption for essential goods and services. We also promise panchayats and municipalities a share of GST revenues.
Armed Forces and Paramilitary Forces
Congress said it would reverse the trend of declining defence spending under the NDA government, and increase it to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces. All modernisation programmes of the Armed Forces would be expedited in a transparent manner. Social security, education and health facilities for the Paramilitary Forces and families would be improved.
Quality Education For Every Child
Congress promised in its manifesto that school education from Class I to Class XII in public schools shall be compulsory and free. We will especially focus on learning outcomes, it said. It said schools would have adequate infrastructure and qualified teachers. To achieve this, we will double the allocation for Education to 6 per cent of GDP by 2023-24, the manifesto said.
Congress promised to pass in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha the Women’s Reservation Bill reserving 33 percent of seats for women in the Lok Sabha and the State Legislative Assemblies. Congress said it will also reserve 33 percent of all posts/vacancies in the Central Government for women.
Congress also promised to implement in letter and spirit, the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and secure for the Scheduled Tribes the rights guaranteed under the Act. No forest dweller will be unjustly evicted. We will establish a National Commission for Non-Timber Forest Produce, the manifesto said. Congress has promised to offer Minimum Support Prices for NTFP.
Right to Homestead
It will pass the Right to Homestead Act to provide a piece of land for every rural household that does not own a home or own land on which a house may be built, Congress said.
End to Hate Crimes
Congress said thatin the last 5 years under the NDA Government, hate crimes and atrocities against vulnerable sections of the people have increased manifold. Congress promised to end the sense of impunity, stamp out mob violence and lynching, and prevent atrocities and hate crimes against the SC, ST, women and minorities. Congress said it will hold accountable the police and district administration for proven negligence in the case of riots, mob violence and hate crimes.
Congress said it will pass a law on privacy; restrict the use of Aadhaar to the original purposes of the Aadhaar Act; protect the rights of every citizen especially students, journalists, academics, artists, civil society activists and NGOs. Congress said it will review all laws and repeal those that are outdated, unjust or unreasonably restrict the freedom of the people.
Protecting Our Institutions
Congress said to revitalise the institutions that were brazenly undermined in the last 5 years such as RBI, ECI, CIC, CBI, etc. it will restore their dignity, authority and autonomy while making them accountable to Parliament. In order to ensure free and fair elections, Congress said, it will abolish the opaque electoral bonds introduced by the NDA government and set up a National Election Fund that will be allocated at the time of elections to recognised political parties.
Cities and Urban Governance
Congress promised a comprehensive policy on urbanisation to address issues concerning our towns and cities, including city governance, livelihoods, housing, habitat, pollution, climate change, urban transport and disaster management. For the urban poor, it promised the Right to Housing and protection from arbitrary eviction, and a Slum Upgradation and Transformation Scheme. The manifesto said Congress will introduce a new model of governance for towns and cities through directly elected mayors.
Environment and Climate Change
At the bottom of the list, Congress promised an action agenda that will place India at the forefront of the battle against global warming and environmental protection. It recognised that air pollution is a national public health emergency, therefore, the National Clean Air Programme would be significantly strengthened
It will set up an independent, empowered and transparent Environment Protection Authority, redefine the role of the Forest Departments and increase our forest cover, Congress said.
Read Detailed Congress ManifestoComplete-Congress-Manifesto-2019
HP Govt Employees to Get Higher Pay Scale on Completion of Two Years of Service: CM Jairam
Shimla-Himachal Pradesh Government employees working in different departments before January 3, 2022, would be given a higher scale at par with other employees on completion of two years tenure of regular service. A higher pay scale was also announced for the Junior Office Assistants (IT) on completion of two years of regular service.
Chief Minister Jairam Thakur made these announcements during the Karamchari Maha Sammelan of the Himachal Pradesh Non-Gazetted Employees Federation at the hotel Peterhof on Sunday.
He appreciated the role played by the employee especially frontline workers in the battle against the pandemic.
He said most of the government employees in the state have been given revised pay scales and on average, every employee has got the benefit of a 12 to 15 percent salary hike. There has also been an increase in the pension of about 1.50 lakh pensioners of the state. The financial benefits of Rs. 7801 crore have been given to state government employees and pensioners from the year 2018 to 2022. The pensioners who retired before 2016 are getting the benefit of a 15 to 20 percent increase in the pension while around 40 thousand pensioners who retired after 2016 would be benefitted soon, he said.
He said the daily wages were Rs. 210 in the year 2017 which has been increased by the present state government to Rs. 350. Similarly, 12 per cent interim relief annually has been provided to government employees and pensioners during the present government’s tenure. He said the Himachal government has provided Dearness Allowance to its employees and pensioners on the lines of Punjab and Central governments from the due date. The Punjab government has given only 5 percent interim relief to the employees while the Himachal government has provided 21 percent interim relief to its employees.
“Out of the total interim relief amount given to the employees and pensioners amounting to about Rs. 6500 crore, Rs. 3500 crore has been paid during the tenure of our government” added the Chief Minister.
He said that the state government has increased the government contribution for NPS employees from 10 percent to 14 percent benefitting more than one lakh employees. The NPS employees are being given the benefits of retirement and death gratuity at par with employees falling under the old pension scheme. The government has also increased the upper limit of death gratuity from Rs. 10 lakh to Rs. 20 lakh.
The Chief Minister said the state government has also increased the honorarium of para-workers working in various departments. The salary of outsource workers has been hiked by Rs 1,500 per month.
Non-Gazetted Employees Federation President Ashwani Thakur thanked the Chief Minister for providing various financial and other benefits to different categories of government employees.
Most Covid Restrictions to be Lifted From March 31, Mask and Hand Hygiene to Continue
New Delhi-The Centre has issued a notification to the States informing that the provisions of the Disaster Management (DM) Act, 2005 will not be invoked in the country after March 31. The Union Health Ministry said that the use of face masks and following hand hygiene will continue.
It implies that most of the Covid-related rules and restrictions would end.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued the notification which said that the decision was taken following the overall improvement in the situation and the preparedness of the government in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, local authorities and State police can still invoke fines and criminal cases against persons violating COVID-19 norms under the Indian Penal Code (IPC), a senior government official said.
The DM Act was invoked on March 24, 2020, due to the pandemic
“Over the last seven weeks or so there has been a steep decline in the number of cases. The total caseload in the country stands at 23,913 only and the daily positivity rate has declined to 0.28%. It is also worth mentioning that with the combined efforts, a total of 181.56 Cr vaccine doses have been administered,” the notification said.
“I would like to mention that in view of the nature of the disease, we still need to remain watchful of the situation. Wherever any surge in the number of cases is observed, the States/UTs may consider taking prompt and proactive action at a local level, as advised by MoHFW (Health Ministry) from time to time,” the notification said.
The Indian government had issued various guidelines and measures for the first time on March 24, 2020, under the Disaster Management Act to curb the COVID-19 situation in the country, which have been modified several times thereafter.
India currently has 23,087 active COVID-19 cases and recorded 1,778 new cases and 62 deaths in the last 24 hours. The daily positivity rate has also declined to 0.28%.
HP Cabinet Decisions: Country Liquor Made Cheaper in New Excise Policy, Read All Decisions
Shimla-A meeting of the Himachal Pradesh Cabinet was held on March 20, 2022, under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.
The excise policy for the financial year 2022-23 was approved. Approval was also given for the renewal of retail excise vends in the state for the financial year 2022-23 at the renewal fees of 4% of the value of unit/vend.
The State Government said that wants to enhance the government revenue and curb the smuggling of country liquor from the neighbouring states by a reduction in its price.
The brands of Country Liquor will be cheaper as license fees have been reduced. This will help in providing good quality liquor at a cheaper rate to the consumers.
In the new excise policy, the 15% fixed quota of country liquor for manufacturers and bottlers to be supplied to the retail licensees has been abolished. According to the government, this step will give the retail licensees to lift their quota from the suppliers of their choice and further assure the supply of good quality country liquor at competitive prices. The MRP of country liquor will be cheaper by 16% of the existing price.
In this year’s policy, the Gaudhan Vikas Nidhi Fund has been enhanced by Re.1/- from the existing Rs.1.50 to Rs.2.50.
The fixed annual license fee of Bars has been rationalized by abolishing the area-specific slabs of license fee. Now throughout the State, there will be uniform license slabs based upon the room capacity in hotels.
Rates of the annual fixed license fee of Bars in the tribal areas has been reduced considerably.
Further, all the above stakeholders will have to install CCTV cameras at their establishments as it was made mandatory for them.
Wholesale vends and retail vends, the penalty provisions under the H.P. Excise Act, 2011 have been made more stringent.
An end to end online Excise Administration System would be established in Himachal Pradesh, the government said.
HP Government estimates a collection of Rs 2131 crore revenue during the year, which will be Rs. 264 crores higher than the financial year 2021-22 – growth of 14% in state excise revenues.
The Cabinet also gave its nod to amend Himachal Pradesh Disaster Relief Manual-2012 to include deaths due to biting of honey bees, hornet and wasps, accidental drowning and deaths due to accidents of vehicles (including land, water and air) under this Manual.
The Cabinet gave its approval for filling up 11 posts of ‘A’ Class Tehsildar in Revenue Department through direct recruitment on regular basis through Himachal Pradesh Public Service Commission.
HP State Toll Policy 2022-23
The HP Cabinet also gave its nod to HP State Toll Policy for the year 2022-23 which envisages auction cum tender for all the toll barriers in the State. During the year 2021-22, toll revenue has registered a growth of 20 percent of the previous year’s revenue.