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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

Video: Fire Wreaks Havoc at Solan Mall Road

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Solan Fire Break out 2021

Solan-A fire broke out at the congested Solan Mall Road today evening, which engulfed about three shops including a medical store and garment and shoe shops. According to the initial report received from the district administration, the fire reportedly started from a medical store, which was closed.

People first noticed smoke rising from inside the building and informed the owner of the shop and fire services. By the time, fire tenders reached the spot, the fire had spread considerably to a large part of the multi-story building. Sounds of explosions from inside the medical store caused a panic among the adjoining shopping mall and people present on the scene. These sounds of explosions reportedly came from bottles of sanitisers and other flammables products kept inside the medical store.

No loss of life was reported.

According to a report, two fire hydrants installed at the Solan Mall Road for such emergency situation did not work, which led to delay in extinguishing the fire. Meanwhile, property worth lakhs in three to four shops turned to ash. It took over two hours to extinguish the fire with the help of locals. 

The Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Ajay Kumar, had arrived at the spot. The exact losses were yet to be assessed. It’s pertinent to mention that the Solan Mall is a congested place with a large number of shops and the fire could have easily turned into a bigger disaster if it were not controlled. 

The cause of the fire is believed to be a short-circuit. But it would be possible to cite the exact cause only after an inquiry, if conducted. More information was awaited.

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Environment

Himachal First State to Complete Assessment of Snow Leopard and its Wild Prey

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Snow Leopard Population Assessment in Himachal Pradesh

Shimla-The assessment of snow leopard population in Himachal Pradesh has been completed by the state wildlife wing in collaboration with Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF) Bangalore following the protocol aligning with the SPAI (Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India) protocols of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. Himachal Pradesh has become the first state to complete assessment of snow leopard and its wild prey.

The state has an estimated population of up to 73 snow leopards.

It is the first scientifically robust estimate of snow leopards and its prey for the State. Since snow leopard is the state animal, the study assumes great significance for Himachal Pradesh.
The exercise revealed that snow leopard density ranged from 0.08 to 0.37 individuals per 100 sq.km., with the trans-Himalayan regions of Spiti, Pin valley and upper Kinnaur recording the highest densities, both of the predator and its prey, mainly ibex and blue sheep.

This study covered the entire potential snow leopard habitat of Himachal Pradesh: an area of 26,112 sq.km., utilising a stratified sampling design. Camera trapping surveys were conducted at 10 sites to representatively sample all the strata i.e. high, low and unknown. The camera trap deployment over the mountainous terrains was led by a team of eight local youth of Kibber village and more than 70 frontline staff of HPFD were trained in this technique as part of the project. Snow leopards were detected at all the 10 sites (Bhaga, Chandra, Bharmour, Kullu, Miyar, Pin, Baspa, Tabo, Hangrang & Spiti) suggesting that snow leopards are found in the entire snow leopard habitat in Himachal Pradesh either as resident individuals of a population or as dispersing individuals navigating through these connecting habitats.

Another revelation from the study is that a bulk of snow leopard occurrence is outside protected areas, reiterating the fact that local communities are the strongest allies for conservation in snow leopard landscapes.

The NCF and wildlife wing collaborated in the effort and it took three years to complete the assessment. MoEFCC had launched the First National Protocol on Snow Leopard Population Assessment in India, on the occasion of International Snow Leopard Day. You can read the complete protocol here.

Snow leopard is the icon of high mountains of Asia. In India, they inhabit the higher Himalayan and TransHimalayan landscape in an altitudinal range between approximately 3,000 m to 5,400 m above MSL, spanning c. 100,000 km2 in the five states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. This area contributes to about 5% of the global snow leopard range.

Snow leopards occur over a vast, relatively remote and difficult to access mountainous area. Together with their elusive nature, this makes a complete population census of snow leopards an unfeasible goal. Even their distribution remains unclear. For example, recent surveys show that they do not occur in 25 % of the area that was thought to be their range in the state of Himachal Pradesh Their density is expected to be variable in space, dependent on several factors such as habitat suitability, prey availability, disturbance and connectivity. Variation in density across space also poses the risk of biased sampling, and, indeed, most of the snow leopard population assessments conducted so far across the world are biased towards the best habitats.

Feature Photo: Pexels/Charles Miller

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Misc News/Press Release

Himachal Records 81% Turnout in 3rd Phase of PRI Polls, Congress Makes a Come Back in Theog MC after 20 Years

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third phase of Panchayat elections in himachal pradesh

Shimla-The third phase of elections to Panchayati Raj Institutes in Himachal Pradesh recorded around 81 percent polling on January 21, 2021. The elections were held in 1137 Gram Panchayats in this phase. The highest 94 percent polling was registered in Lodhi Majra Panchayat of Nalagarh development block in Solan district. This information was released by a spokesperson of HP Election Commission

District-wise, Sirmaur recorded 85% turnout, followed by Solan (85%) Kullu (84%),Chamba (82.8%), Mandi (82.7%), Una (81.1%), Shimla (82%),Una (81%), Bilaspur (80.3%), Hamirpur (78.1%), Kangra (78%), and Kinnaur (70%).

 Further, 48 COVID-19 patients and persons in isolation also cast their votes.

The Spokesperson said that the poll was held peacefully and there was no report of any untoward incident in the state.

Counting of votes for Zila Parishad and Panchayat Samiti will be held on January 22, 2021, at block headquarters.

Congress made a come back to Theog Municipal Council after 20 years. While Vivek Thapar was elected as the Chairman of the MC, Reen Roy was elected as the Vice-Chairman. Congress has already registered wins in Rohru and Rampur MCs and Chopal, Kotkhai and Sunni Nagar panchayats.

Theog MC Polls 2021

Congress After Registering Victory in Theog MC Elections

The HPCC chief Kuldeep Singh Rathore, while speaking to media persons yesterday, said that of the total seven Wards of the Theog MC, Congress has claimed victory on four wards while remaining three Wards went to independent candidates. Congress alleged that BJP had left no stone unturned to pressurize, lure, and threaten elected members to gain their support. 

Rathore mocked at the defeat of BJP MP’s bother in Mandi district. Further, the candidate in Ghumarwin of Bilaspur – home district of BJP Chief Jagat Prakash Nadda-  had also faced defeat, Rathore said. BJP candidate in Sujanpur – home to Union Minister for State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur-could also not register a victory and lost, he said.

Congress also registered a victory in elections to Parwanoo MC. Kuldeep Singh Rathore, said that winning candidate Nisha Sharma joined Congress yesterday. She had won twice from the same Ward on BJP ticket. This time, she was denied ticket and fought the elections as an independent candidate. 

Parwanoo Counciloor Nisha sharma

Nisha Sharma Joins Congress

Rathore alleged that the government has been trying to threaten Nisha by registering a fake case of illegal construction. Similarly, husband of Chandrawati – another Congress councilor in Parwanoo- who runs a depot was fined wrongfully yesterday, Rathore alleged.   

While BJP has been making claims of victory on the majority of seats, Congress had been terming it as a bluff.  Also, it had been alleging BJP of misusing government machinery. Independent candidates are being bought and allurements are being given to winning Congress candidates, Rathore alleged.  

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