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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

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While People Await Relief Amid Pandemic, HP Govt Minister Faces Backlash for Buying New Luxury Car

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GOVind Singh Thakur luxury car purchase

Shimla-While the Himachal Pradesh is getting buried under a mounting debt of over 54 thousand crores and people struggles due to economic crisis amid pandemic, a new report regarding the purchase of a luxury vehicle for a Cabinet Minister has sparked a controversy. All Ministers already have SUVs, but that doesn’t seem to have satisfied their desires for more comfort and higher status. Also, this purchase was made at a time when Chief Minister Jairam Thakur is advocating cutting short unnecessary expenditures.

According to a report published in media, the state Education Department has purchased a Rs. 18 lakh ‘Tata Harrier’ SUV for Education Minister, Govind Singh Thakur.

According to the report, the minister already has two government vehicles – a Fortuner and an Innova- and ‘Harrier’ was the third edition to his fleet. Responding to media quarries, the Department has justified the purchase by reasoning that the Innova had got older and was not fit for use.

The report also said that the decision to buy a new luxury car was taken during the tenure of Suresh Bhardwaj as the Education Minister, who later delayed it due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The earlier proposal was to buy an Innova Cresta. The new Education Minister, however, didn’t show reluctance like Bhardwaj and went ahead with buying an SUV amid the pandemic.

It’s pertinent to mention that the nation, as well as, the state is reeling under the wave of an economic slowdown. The state government is taking loans worth thousands of crores on the pretext of this slowdown. The government is facing criticism over such unnecessary expenditures on the luxury of ministers while the public still awaits relief.

This is not the first such instance where the public tax money was wasted despite financial crisis. Earlier, the state government had allegedly not only purchased a Rs. 25 lakh SUV but also bought a VIP number for Rs 1 lakh in March this year. A media report had said that though the SUV was registered in the name of the XEN, IPH Division, Dharampur, it was being used by a Minister’s son. The officials remain in the field from morning to evening so they require AC cars, the Department had justified.

Earlier, as the Transport Minister, Govind had also remained in news over the alleged misuse of a government vehicle by the wife for visiting a parlor in October 2019.

Also Read: Why was HP Transport Minister’s Wife Using Govt Vehicle for Shopping, Parlour Visits: Public and Opposition Ask

Political leaders, as well as, the public had raised the issue and asked as to why the wife of Govind Thakur was using government vehicle to go to a beauty parlour and for shopping in Chandigarh. After facing a backlash from the public, the Chief Minister had ordered an inquiry, which never saw the light of the day.

Photo Credit: FB/Govind Singh Thakur

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UHF Nauni With Western Sydney Varsity Launches Online Course on ‘Agri Skills Empowerment’

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UHF Nauni online course on agri skills launched

Solan-An international agricultural research programme between several Indian agricultural Universities including Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni and Western Sydney University (WSU) was launched recently through online mode, informed the Public Relation Officer of the varsity, Suchet Attri.

He said that the online programme titled ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship Programme- Entrepreneurs’ has been started under the Indian Council of Agricultural Research’s (ICAR) National Agricultural Higher Education Plan (NAHEP) funded by the World Bank. Under NAHEP, UHF has been awarded the Institutional Development Project(IDP). Some of the agricultural universities, who are a part of the NAHEP have tied up with WSU for this programme. 

A total of 60 final year UG students from three colleges of the university will be undertaking the 20-week course. These students will also get an opportunity to visit WSU and have an opportunity to interact with researchers to develop an awareness of new research areas and business leaders to learn real-life examples and cutting-edge research, he informed. 

The online programme launch was done by WSU which was attended by Dr A. Arunachalam, ADG (International), ICAR.

Speaking at the event, UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr Parvinder Kaushal congratulated the WSU and all the partner agricultural universities.

 He said,

“We are keenly looking forward to this partnership as our students and faculty will be exposed to contemporary knowledge in both innovation and entrepreneurship and a range of techniques and tools that have practical importance.”

The objective of the programme is to develop an Innovation and Entrepreneurship programme for high performing final year undergraduates in Agricultural, Horticultural and Forestry Science which will provide prospects for students to explore opportunities to become future leaders in research, academia or business. The programme will provide an opportunity for students to engage with academic and business leaders to identify and understand technology gaps, business ideas and strategic choices that lead to innovation-driven advantages in the agritech sector. Student learning will be through the exposure to research-informed new knowledge and business cases from the industry that will inspire students towards entrepreneurship.

UHF recently signed an MoU with WSU and three short-term courses on Entrepreneurship Development, Remote Sensing and Scientific Numeracy for the UG will also be started soon. 

The Vice-Chancellors of partner agricultural universities namely Dr Parvinder Kaushal, VC UHF Nauni; Dr Nazeer Ahmad, VC, Sher-e-Kashmir University for Agricultural Science and Technology; Dr Anupam Mishra, VC CAU, Imphal; Dr Ajoy Kumar Singh, VC, Bihar Agricultural University; Dr S Rajender Prasad, VC UAS, Bangalore and Dr RS Srivastav, VC Dr Rajendra Prasad CAU also joined the launch ceremony. 

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Read Cabinet Decisions on Regular School Classes, UG Students, General Tax Relaxation on Land/Buildings, Police Recruitment & More

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Himachal Pradesh- Regular school classes

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet on October 27, 2020, held a meeting in which it took several decisions including resuming regular classes in schools. The Cabinet decided to conduct regular classes from 9th to 12th standard in educational institutions in Himachal Pradesh from November 2, 2020. Besides colleges of the State would resume classes by following the SOP/guidelines of Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 

The Cabinet gave its approval to promote students enrolled in 1st and 2nd year UG courses for academic session 2019-20 to the next academic year based on the UG guidelines keeping in view the COVID-19 pandemic.

It gave its approval to provide an extension in services of already engaged SMC teachers of various categories in Elementary and Higher Education Departments for the academic session 2020-21 and their remuneration may also be disbursed to them for the academic session 2020-21 subject to the outcome of Special Leave Petition (Civil) pending in Hon’ble Supreme Court.    

The Cabinet decided to raise the honorarium of IT teachers engaged on an outsource basis in the Education Department by 10 percent from 1st April 2020. This would benefit 1345 IT teachers.

The Municipal Councils of Mandi, Solan and Palampur would be upgraded to Municipal Corporations by the inclusion of adjoining areas, the Cabinet decided. It also decided to create six new Nagar panchayats – Kandaghat in Solan district, Amb in Una district, Ani and Normand in Kullu district and Chirgoan and Nerwa in Shimla district. It also gave its nod for re-organization of these Urban Local Bodies (ULBs). This includes Ner Chowk and Karsog in district Mandi and Nagar Panchayat Jwali in Kangra district by exclusion and inclusion of certain areas.

The Cabinet decided to exempt land and buildings in newly included areas of these Urban Local Bodies from payment of general tax for a period of three years and to retain the customary rights as provided in the Wazib-Ul-Urz in the record of rights.

Election to the ULBs in the State (including newly created Nagar panchayats) and newly created Municipal Corporations of Mandi, Solan and Palampur would be conducted in January 2021, after consultation with State Election Commission, the Cabinet decided. The elections to Municipal Corporation Dharamshala would also be conducted with all ULBs in January 2021. The elections for Shimla Municipal Corporation will be conducted in due course in 2022.

The Cabinet gave its nod to fill up:

  • 1334 vacant posts of Constables which includes 976 male and 267 female and 91 drivers on regular basis through direct recruitment.
  • 32 posts of leading fireman, 11 posts of driver cum pump operator in newly opened Fire Posts at Sansarpur Terrace in Kangra district, Bahawalnagar and Sangla in Kinnaur district and Patlikuhal in Kullu district.
  •  22 posts of Copyists in 22 Subordinate Courts of the State on regular basis.
  • 9 posts of different categories in the State Food Commission for its smooth functioning.

The Cabinet also decided to restore ‘Janmanch’ Programme from 8th November this year.

It gave its nod to allow one-time amnesty by redefining zero dates for projects which are under investigation and clearance stage where Implementation Agreements (IAs) have already been signed and by redefining Scheduled Commercial Operation Date (SCOD) for projects under construction stage.  This decision will benefit 221 power projects having a total capacity of 1060 MW.

The government has also decided to rename Government College Takipur in Kangra district as Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government  College, Takipur.

It also gave its consent to create and fill up one post of Assistant Professor in Super Specialty Surgical Oncology Cell in Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla.

The Cabinet decided to employ Miss Tanzin Dolkar sister of martyr Tanzin Chhultim of the village and P.O. Karpat in Lahaul-Spiti district who laid down his life during terrorists in Srinagar on 3rd August 2017. She would be appointed as Junior Office Assistant (IT) on contract basis in the office of DFO Lahaul-Spiti. 

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