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Congress Manifesto Promises MSP For Farmers, Focuses On Unemployment; Key Highlights

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New Delhi: The Congress party released its manifesto for the upcoming 2024 Lok Sabha elections on Friday, with a focus on key areas such as women empowerment, job creation, infrastructure development, and conducting a national caste census. The manifesto was unveiled at the All India Congress Committee (AICC) headquarters in Delhi.

Congress Manifesto: Farmers

  • The Congress party in its manifesto pledged to address the longstanding concerns of farmers by promising to implement a minimum support price (MSP) for those cultivating cash crops.
  • This commitment holds significance amidst the backdrop of nationwide farmer protests that erupted in 2020 against the now-repealed farm laws. At the heart of these protests was the demand for a legal guarantee for MSP, a demand the Congress intends to fulfill by providing a permanent legal assurance based on the recommendations of the Swaminathan Commission.
  • Highlighting its dedication to the welfare of farmers and agricultural laborers, the Congress criticised the BJP’s handling of the farmers’ protests, labeling it as “callous and brutal.”

Healthcare:

  • The Congress party plans to introduce universal free healthcare, extending coverage for diagnosis, surgeries, and medications. Drawing from the successful model implemented in Rajasthan during its tenure, the party aims to provide cashless insurance of up to ₹25 lakh. Under this initiative, healthcare services will be universally accessible and free at public health centers, hospitals, clinics, primary health centers (PHCs), maternal health centers (MHCs), dispensaries, and health camps.
  • Furthermore, the Congress pledges to establish Assisted Living and Care Centers for disabled individuals, emphasising inclusivity and support for marginalised communities.
  • Additionally, the party commits to ensuring representation for disabled persons in local bodies, promoting their participation and empowerment in decision-making processes.

Unemployment:

  • For the unemployed youth, the Congress said that it will abolish application fees for government examinations and government posts.
  • The Congress in its manifesto said, due to widespread unemployment, as a one-time measure of relief, the amount due including unpaid interest as on March 15, 2024 in respect of all student educational loans will be written off and the banks will be compensated by the government.

Other Key Highlights:

  • The Congress has set the target to double the country’s GDP in the next 10 years.
  • The party in its manifesto promises to replace the GST laws that exists at present with GST 2.0. The new GST regime will be based on the universally accepted principle that GST shall be a single, moderate rate (with a few exceptions) that will not burden the poor, the Congress said.
  • The Congress party has pledged to safeguard the independence of journalism by introducing laws aimed at protecting journalists from coercive actions by the State. This commitment entails limiting the government’s authority to surveil journalists, seize their devices, and reveal their sources.
  • Additionally, the party promises to enact legislation to combat media monopolies, cross-ownership, and undue influence exerted by business entities over the media.
  • Under the proposed laws, all media organisations, regardless of their size, will be mandated to disclose their ownership structures, cross-holdings, revenue sources, and other relevant information through their websites.
  • The manifesto highlights concerns over various proposed laws, such as the Broadcasting Services (Regulation) Bill, 2023, the Digital Personal Data Protection Act, 2023, and the Press and Registration of Periodicals Act, 2023, which are perceived to grant excessive censorship powers to the government.
  • To combat fake news and paid news, the Congress said that it will amend the Press Council of India Act, 1978 to empower the Council to deal with the this menace.

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