Congress leader and former All India Congress Committee (AICC) president Rahul Gandhi on Saturday released its manifesto for the ensuing Assam Assembly election 2021 at the Rajiv Bhawan in Guwahati.
What are the promises in the manifesto?
“The Citizenship Amendment Act which has endangered the language-culture and history of Assam will not be implemented and rigorous attempts will be made by the Congress party to repeal this law that threatens to divide people,” the manifesto said.
“To solve the problem of unemployment, 5 lakh unemployed youth will be provided jobs in the public sector while 25 lakh unemployed youth will be provided jobs in the private sector,” it said.
The daily wage of tea plantation workers will be increased to Rs.365 and they will be enveloped within other social security benefits, the Congress manifesto said.
“In the earlier Congress regime, under the Rajiv Gandhi Rural Electrification Scheme, 30 units of free electricity was given to 13.55 lakh families. If we form the government, we will waive off 200 units of electricity for each family,” it said.
“For housewives, Rs.2000 will be extended monthly under ‘Grihini Saman’ scheme,” the manifesto said.
The Congress party promises to waive off debt for women who have taken loans from micro finance banks.
Weavers will be provided free of cost yarn, loom and other equipment.
There will be free of cost state transport for all women.
Agricultural debt will be waived-off for farmers, the country’s food providers.
Paper mills like Panchgram and in Jagiroad which have been closed under the BJP regime will be revived again, the manifesto said.
A pension will be extended to the families of freedom fighters and martyrs of the Assam agitation, language movement and the CAA movement.
Silchar Railway Station will be renamed ‘Bhasha Swahid Station’.
The landless, who currently inhabit state-owned land will be provided ‘land patta’.
Provisions for the post of head teacher will be created in every primary school.
“The holy places – ‘namghars’, ‘mandirs’, mosques, churches, etc. that have attained an age of 50 years will be provided financial assistance,” the manifesto said.
The other promises include:
ST status will be given to six communities- Tai Ahom, Moran, Motok, Chutia, Tea-Tribes and Koch-Rajbangshi.
The festivals of different tribes and ethnicities like Jonbeel Festival, Karbi Mahotsav will be extended.
Kerosene and sugar will be distributed publicly again at minimum price.
A Corpus Fund will be set up for financial assistance of electricians, sound artists, beauticians and other artists as Corona relief.
A digital library will be set up in every constituency with all facilities.
Gaushalas will be built in each district.
Model Health Insurance will be extended to organized and unorganised sector.
A Corpus Fund will be created for lawyers and Rs 5 crore will be extended towards it.
Every year, a renowned journalist will be awarded the R.G. Baruah Award.
Under the ‘Mission Xwej Assam’, the greenery of Assam will be increased by another 15%.
Mobile clinics will be set up in poverty stricken regions of cities and villages.
The Madhupur Xatra in Cooch Behar will be provided special financial support.
A scholarship will be instituted in the name of language movement martyr- Muzammil Hoque.
State Olympics will be conducted annually under Assam Olympic Association.
Necessary steps will be taken for the promotion of Ambubachi Mela.
Congress promised provision of free lunch at Rs.10 through ‘Aamar pakghar’ scheme for the organised and unorganized sector.
Congress will price a quintal of rice at Rs.2,500 and necessary steps will be taken to implement it.
Regarding the Assam Accord, the manifesto said: “We will take necessary steps to solve the problem of illegal immigrants and 25th March, 1971 will be upheld as the cut-off date as prescribed in the Assam Accord.”
As per the decision of the Supreme Court of India, Congress will start the process of identification of illegal immigrants. Therefore, the number of NRC offices and recruitment of officials will be started.
The problem of ‘D’ voter will be resolved for minority groups like Gorkhas, religious minorities and Koch-Rajbangshi, linguistic minorities and other ethnic communities of Assam.
The longstanding demand for Scheduled Tribe Status of Tai Ahom, Moran, Motok, Chutia, Tea Tribes and Koch-Rajbangshi will be given importance and special attention will be given to ensuring that no enlisted scheduled tribes/castes will be affected and for that a solution will be devised.
Every poor family in every village will be provided housing for which we will formulate a special scheme and it will be implemented in a time bound phased-manner.
The funds allocated to Gaon Bura and VDP will be increased.
Special emphasis will be laid on the progress of timber, bamboo and rattan artists.
The ongoing pandemic has impacted the entire country along with Assam.
Congress will take necessary steps to secure all jobs while measures will be undertaken for rehabilitating those who have lost their jobs during demonetization and lockdown. This provision will be applicable for both the organised and unorganised sectors.
The issue of tax relaxations that was debated during the lockdown by the city councils will be taken up seriously.
Practical steps will be undertaken to lower the rise of house rent that happened during the lockdown in various areas like Fancy Bazaar.
Steps will be taken to ensure that the paper mill in Panchgram and the Nagaon Paper mill situated in Jagiroad are restarted at the earliest.
The same will be done for the Jogigopa mill in Bongaigaon.
For attracting business prospects, the Industrial policy of 2007 which was implemented during the Congress led- UPA government in the North-East will be rolled out.
To transform Assam into an industrial hub, a well-informed industrial policy will be instituted. Through this it will be ensured that the state is able to set up MSME industries which will help in economic progress of the state along with solving the unemployment problem.
The suitable shareholders, the state and central government will have discussions to set up a fourth unit in Namrup Fertiliser factory.
The major industrial projects of the State will be completed in a time bound manner.
To provide relief to the small tea cultivators, amendments will be made to the current policies.
“We will increase the amount provided in Angel funds and a yearly support will be extended to small tea industries,” the manifesto said.
To increase our trade relations with neighbouring countries, a separate office will instituted.
Special focus will be laid on locally manufactured goods and produces.
“With the focus of solving the problem of unemployment, 5 lakh unemployed people will be recruited in the Government sector and 25 lakh will be recruited in the private sector. An exclusive Ministry will be formed to address this issue,” the manifesto said.
Government scholarship will be provided to meritorious students who aspire to sit for competitive examinations like IAS and ACS.
A State grant will be provided to meritorious students who will be trained in engineering, medical, para-medical and those trained in other vocational fields.
For those working in the organised and unorganised sector, provision of providing lunch for Rs.10 will be extended through the ‘Aamar Pakghar’ scheme, it said.
“Farmers will attain relief, Congress is in support of the farmers,” it said.
“On forming government, the Congress will waive-off farmer debt. The Congress will form a ‘Farmer Producer’s Association’ through which it becomes accessible for farmers to avail various schemes, technologies, economic support and so on. To ensure that farmers avail the appropriate price for their produce, the minimum support price of certain commodities will be decided,” the manifesto said.
The State Agricultural Marketing Council will be rejuvenated and the agricultural marketing policy will be further strengthened.
In each block, centers will be set up for the buying and selling of rice grains under the Indian Food Corporation and other associations.
Immediate steps will be undertaken to construct cold storage facilities, seed banks and storage facilites at the earliest.
The Congress party will initiate steps to use different varieties of local rice of Assam in various government schemes like the mid-day scheme, PDS and ICDS, etc.
Separate council will be set up for the sale of farmer’s produce like fish cultivation, silk-work, dairy production and duck and chicken rearing.
Free of cost yarn, handloom machine and other associated equipment will be provided to every weaver.
In every Panchayat, a free of cost ‘dram’ will be set up.
For Muga workers and artisans, various schemes and programs will be undertaken. Eri, Muga, paat and thread production will be recognised industries.
“A Model health Insurance will be prepared for ensuring health and security of the organised and unorganised sectors.”
Steps will be undertaken to decrease the tax and penalty posed on auto-rickshaws and other commercial vehicles which was implemented during the BJP administration.
The development of roadways will ensue like in the times of former CM Tarun Gogoi and modern technologies will be introduced.
The budget of Assam Infrastructure funds will be increased.
Steps to make the National Highways four-lane will be undertaken.
Development of roadways situated near river islands will be ensured along with construction of pathways over wetlands.
Under the ‘Mission Xwej Assam’, the greenery of Assam will be increased by another 15%.
The landless who currently inhabit state-owned land will be provided ‘land patta’. On forming government, the Congress will present ‘land-patta’ to families who live in hill-regions.
The government will try to solve the process of ‘land-patta’ allocation for which the common people have made many appeals. The mechanism through which people make appeals will be made faster and information will be available online.
Measures will be undertaken to relax the land revenue and collection of unused land revenue from certain lands will be taken into account.
“Zero tolerance policy towards corruption and unnecessary political scuffle has only become limited to government paper and words. Congress will have a zero tolerance policy towards all offices including the highest office holders,” it said.
Large number of CCTVs will be installed in the state.
Police Act will be amended to include body worn cameras to traffic police who are collecting fines for traffic violations.
The remuneration of state employees will be increased including other benefits.
In the next five years, regularisation of jobs will be done for those who work on contractual basis.
It will be ensured that the schemes which have been already announced are readily implemented.
Unemployed local youth will be trained to give proper information in the tourist spots which will create employment avenues and they will be employed as guides.
A special scheme will be adopted to popularise ‘Sunset Seeing’ over river Brahmaputra similar to ‘Sunrise Seeing’ in Darjeeling.
More funds will be allocated for the development of historical places and monuments.
Major steps will be taken for publicity of Assam Tourism through advertisement to attract tourists and also the places of visits can be demarcated easily.
Keeping in mind the sanitation and health of girl students, sanitary vending machines will be installed in every school.
Bodo, Bengali, Nepali, Karbi, Garo, Dimasa, Mising, Sadri and other languages will be taught in primary schools so that people can learn their mother tongues.
The Ananda Ram Barua award will be presented to meritorious students wherein they were awarded laptops and computers.
In every school, broadband internet will be available.
The impact of education in river islands as compared to other regions of Assam is backward.
In these regions, around 60% of girl students drop out before completing high school. A special scheme will be formulated keeping in mind the promotion of education in these regions.
“In a phased manner, the cleaners or ‘safai karamcharis’ and other contractual workers in the hospitals will be regularized,” the manifesto said.
The Dr. B. Borooah Cancer Centre situated in Guwahati will be converted into a super specialty Cancer medical college.
The pay of ‘Asha’ workers will be increased and social security benefits will be extended to them. They will be entitled to the benefits that state employees enjoy- state employees’ insurance scheme etc.
Likewise, the Mid-Day Meal workers and helpers pay will be increased and state protection for them will be ensured.
The number of 108 and 102 ambulances will be increased.
The number of hospitals and doctors will be increased in river islands and awareness will be spread regarding scientifically endorsed medical treatment.
“Flood, erosion and other related problems will be elaborately presented to the Centre and a demand will be raised to allocate a separate budget for this. Secondly, we will demand that the flood situation is overseen by a separate organization,” the manifesto said.
“Our government will consider the problem of erosion as top priority and will take up the matter with the Central government to recognize erosion damage, repairing/protection work as a calamity under SDRF,” it said.
The Congress will start a database on the number of flood affected people, the details of the land eroded along with names of displaced persons and their present address and occupation.
Necessary steps to be undertaken to ensure 100% central funding for flood control and other related problems.
“The Rajiv Gandhi Electrification Scheme under APDCL transformed the face of electrification in Assam and Congress is interested in prioritising this scheme again,” it said.
An effective policy will be adopted for the distribution of solar power. In the next five years, 10% increase in solar power usage will be ensured.
Congress will take the necessary steps for the upliftment and empowerment of women.
“Rs. 2000 will be extended monthly as income for housewives under ‘Grihini Samman Scheme’. We will ensure free travel for women across the state in all government buses,” the manifesto said.
In every district of Assam, a Women’s Police Station will be set up.
“Water is the source of life, we will ensure its supply,” the manifesto said.
“Steps will be taken to provide potable water through water treatment plants. For access to water a large dam will be constructed in connection with other small dams in West Cachar, Karbi Anglong and in other hilly areas,” it added.
“In a time bound manner, the water projects of Guwahati will be completed which remained disregarded during the BJP rule,” it said.
“We will ensure fresh drinking water supply to holy places like namghar, temples, mosques, churches, etc.” it further said.
Pension will be provided to those families who have lost their dear ones in the Assam movement, language movements and CAA protests, it said.
The monthly pension for families of martyrs will be increased, it announced.
Necessary welfare schemes like old age homes, etc. will be extended to homeless and marginalised senior citizens.
The old age pension will be increased.
The daily wage of tea tribe workers will be increased upto Rs.365.
Free of cost electricity will be extended to the persons who have limited access to electricity.
Teachers will be recruited to teach the Sadri language.
Necessary steps will be undertaken for the promotion of Ambubachi Mela.
A well-structured scheme will be undertaken to devise solutions for flood control.
An International Trade Center will be constructed in the land allotted to Fancy Bazaar Jail.
As per convenience, Land Patta will be given to landless persons who currently inhabit state owned land.