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Congress Releases Manifesto 2019, Says Last 5 Years Have Been Disastrous For People

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List of promises of Congress Manifesto 2019

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,

Congress said.

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.  

Universal Healthcare

 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.

GST 2.0

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.

Gender Justice

 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.       

Adivasis

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.

Celebrating Freedom

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 Manifesto

Complete-Congress-Manifesto-2019

Misc News/Press Release

Now Report Traffic Violations on WhatsApp Numbers or Facebook: Kullu Police

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Kullu police whatsapp numbers

Kullu-After 45 people lost their lives and 37 were injured in one of the most tragic road accidents in Himachal Pradesh, the District Police, Kullu, has today issued a notification requesting common people to help curbing traffic rule violations. Referring to the bus accident in Kullu’s Banjar sub-division on Thursday, the police said,

It came to notice that the bus was overcrowded to the maximum extent. Such accidents can be avoided if all of us remain vigilant and follow traffic rules.

The police has issued two WhatsApp numbers (8219681600, 8219681601) where anyone can report traffic rule violations like overloading. Complaints can also be made on district police’s Facebook page. The complainant will have to mention specific details like place, time, vehicle registration number along with a photograph. The identity of the informer will not be disclosed to protect them from any harassment or harm, the notification said.

However, it appears that police in other districts is still waiting for similar accidents before they could take similar initiative to encourage people to bring traffic violations to their attention. Such steps should have been taken long ago. Sadly, it took the sacrifice of 45 lives to woke up the police.

The State Police need to issue directions to all Superintendents of Police to issue such numbers and act on complaints made by common people on social media. It helps the police to enhance their reach and deter traffic rule violations.

However, the people questioned how it would solve the problem relating to shortage of bus services in rural areas. The main cause of overloading is the shortage of bus services. The public is left with no option but to board on over-crowded buses because there is a long gap between services to their respective destinations. The State government and district administration are required to intervene here to sort this problem out. The strictness of police alone can’t solve issues like overloading.

As a ray of hope, the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur yesterday took notice of this issue and said that authorities should identify the crowded stations in the state, which require more transport vehicles. To cope up with the issue of overcrowding in the buses, more permits should be issued to mini buses, maxi cabs and trax etc., he had added.

It’s to be seen how swiftly the authorities act on these directions. Meanwhile, the public is requested to co-operate and avoid boarding in overcrowded buses and to indulge in violation of other traffic rules.

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After Kullu Bus Accident, CM Jairam Speaks of New Plans to Prevent Such Tragedies

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Chief Minister Jairam's statement over Kullu bus accident

Kullu-As usual, statements with assurances to take strict measures to check loss of lives in road accidents are being given by the state government after Thursday’s tragic ‘Kullu bus accident.’

This time, the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur has claimed that a special campaign will be launched to identify and rectify the black spots on roads of the state to minimize the road accidents and the new roads would be passed after the approval by the road safety auditors.

He held a meeting of senior officers of the state government held here today.

He said that the earlier procedure of identifying the black spots would be done away and new mechanism to identify and rectify the black spots would be implemented so that the same could be improved instead of waiting for any untoward incident for it. He said that special focus would be laid on improving rural roads having greater traffic frequency.

Special awareness campaign would be launched to sensitize the people regarding over speed, rash driving, drunken driving and use of mobile phones while driving. People would be encouraged to register complaints against the erring drivers. He said that it has been found that 93 percent of accidents occur due to human errors, thus special emphasis would be laid on making driving test more stringent.

Jai Ram Thakur said that all the transport vehicles including taxis would have to display name with the photograph of the driver prominently in the vehicles so that the commuters could know that the driver is well trained and authorized to drive the vehicle.

He said that the condition of transport vehicles would be ensured properly and laxity in this regard would not be tolerated at any cost. He said that automatic testing of the condition of the vehicle would also be done for ensuring that only vehicles with good conditions are on the road. The driver licenses for heavy vehicles would be issued only after ensuring proper test of the drivers. He said that a mechanism such as installing biometric system in driving schools will be adopted so that it could be ensured that the trainee actually undergo training for a specific period. He said that efforts would also be made to provide automatic driving test facilities in all the districts of the State.

Jai Ram Thakur said the authorities should also ensure that there is no overloading in transport vehicles. He said that strict action would be taken against the violators. All the school buses would be regularly monitored and school management would be sensitized about the safety guidelines which is the ultimate objective of the government for the safety of the commuters.

The Chief Minister said that authorities should identify the crowded stations in the state, which require more transport vehicles. He said that to cope up with the issue of overcrowding in the buses, more permits should be issued to mini buses, maxi cabs and trax etc.

Earlier today, Jai Ram Thakur also visited the regional hospital Kullu to enquire the well being of the injured persons of the bus accident.

He said that 39 dead bodies were brought to Kullu hospital on Thursday evening for postmortem and except for three unidentified dead. The remaining bodies were handed over to their family members. As many as 37 injured were referred to Kullu after first aid at Banjar hospital out of which five persons including a tourist died.
He said that seriously injured eight persons were referred to PGIMER, Chandigarh on Thursday evening only whereas three more persons were referred during the midnight.

The district administration has arranged employees to assist the injured referred to Chandigarh. Besides, the doctors of PGIMER, Chandigarh have also been requested for providing treatment to the injured on priority.

The Kullu district administration distributed Rs. 10.35 lakh as immediate relief to the family members of the deceased and injured persons on Thursday night, he informed.

A magisterial enquiry has been ordered to find out the reasons for this bus accident and the enquiry committee headed by ADM, Kullu would submit its report shortly, he said.

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Kullu Bus Accident: Death Toll Reaches 44, About 35 Injured, Several Critical

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Deaths in Kullu Bus Accident in 2019


SKullu-
The bus accident in Banjar sub-division of Kullu district has entered the list of biggest tragedies in Himachal Pradesh. Per the last information received, the death toll has reached 44, and over 30 injured are undergoing treatment at Banjar Civil Hospital, Kullu Hospital, and Hosptial in Mandi’s Nerchowk.

Several injured are in critical condition and have been referred to PGI, Chandigarh. The district administration fears a possible rise in the death toll considering the critical condition of the injured.

All deceased are said to hail from about 20 villages in Kullu and Mandi.

The accident has again exposed the State government’s hollow promises to take measures to reduce road accidents. There is still no check on vehicle maintenance and overloading, leave alone appropriately placing crash barriers on cliff-side of the roads.
Causes of Kullu Bus Accident in 2019

This 42-seater bus was carrying over 75 passengers, there were passengers on the roof as well, eye-witnesses confirm. The bus had left for Gada Gushaini from Banjar on Thursday evening at about 3:45 PM. The bus had not covered more than two kms when it plunged into a 500 feet deep gorge near ‘Bheot mod’ and landed in a Khada fter scraping the mountain face.
Banjar Bus Accident in Pictures

As per a Hindi Daily, the driver was untrained and was perhaps driving a bus for the first time.

Locals, who travelled in this bus daily, told another Hindi Daily that the bus was in poor condition and often developed technical snags. According to the Daily, the driver experienced a problem in shifting gears when the bus approached the ‘Bheot mod’ and began to move backwards uncontrolled before skidding off the road.

The Superintendent of Police, Kullu, Shalini Agnihotri said, the exact cause of the accident could only be ascertained after a proper probe.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, who visited the hospital to meet the injured said,

The road at the spot was not in bad condition. Prima facie it looks like a case of overloading. A meeting was held today to ensure that such incidents don’t happen in future

The driver is reported to have jumped off the bus. A Daily said the driver survived and fled the spot. However, official confirmation was awaited. Hearing the sound of the accident, the locals from nearby Bhumar village rushed to the spot. As per eyewitnesses, the bodies were scattered all over the steep mountain.

Moreover, the condition of crash-barriers install was quite poor. The single-row crash barriers were not installed properly and held no chance of stopping the bus from skidding off the road.

Pictures of Kullu Bus Accident in 2019
The bus was shredded into pieces and its parts were mangled all over the hill and the stream at the bottom of the gorge. The locals had a tough-time descending the steep hill. With the help of ropes, the bodies and injured were extricated and brought up to the road. Further, the locals formed human chains to carry the injured across gushing water of the stream.

Death toll in kullu bus accident

The accident is not the first of its kind. There have been several such accidents in the past in Himachal Pradesh. On April 9, 2018, 27 people including 24 children were killed in a school bus accident in Nurpur in Kangra district. In April 2017, 45 people had died when an overloaded bus had plunged into a gorge near Nerwa in Shimla district. In 2016, 17 had died when a bus fell into Beas river in Mandi district, 25 in Rampur in 2017, 31 in July 2015 when a bus fell into the Parvati in Kullu. Before that, May 2013, 42 people were killed as a private bus plunged into Beas river.

In 2019 alone, 430 people have died in 1,168 road accidents in Himachal Pradesh by May 31. Between 2009 and 2018, over 11,000 people had died in nearly 31,000 different road accidents in the state.

Every time an accident happens, probes are ordered and government issues statements taking vows to fix black spots and implement violation of traffic rules like overloading and rash driving strictly. Further, assurances are provided to take strict action against all government officials and those responsible for the accident. After a few months, the usual business continues as the government officials go back into deep slumber. No action is ever taken against government officials responsible for negligence.

It’s no different this time too, the chief minister has ordered a Magisterial probe while the state transport minister Govind Singh Thakur has made similar promises. How and what actions will be taken remains to be seen.

It’s seen over the year that no audits are conducted to assess the need for additional bus services. The rural areas face a huge problem due to the lack of sufficient bus services, which is also responsible for overloading. There are limited buses and people are left with no choice but to board on overloaded buses to reach their destinations.

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The Regional Transport Office also has a role in such accidents because poorly maintained buses are passed easily. The Public Works Department has all the time to build a corrupt nexus with private contractors, but not to care to install much-needed crash barriers. The district administration and police hardly find time to run regular inspections to see if there is a paucity of bus services or buses are being overloaded.

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