Congress’ poll manifesto: Caste census, jobs, cash transfers for women

Ahead of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the Congress party released its manifesto on Friday with its focus on the five ‘pillars of justice’. In its manifesto, the party focussed on cash transfers for women, employment opportunities, and caste census.

The ‘Paanch Nyay’ or five pillars of justice in the Congress manifesto included the ‘Yuva Nyay’, ‘Naari Nyay’, ‘Kisaan Nyay’, ‘Shramik Nyay’ and ‘Hissedari Nyay’.

According to the party manifesto –

  • Congress will conduct a nationwide socio-economic caste census to enumerate the castes, sub-castes and their socio-economic conditions. Based on the data, the party said it would strengthen the agenda for affirmative action.
  • The party guarantees that it will pass a constitutional amendment to raise the 50 per cent cap on reservations for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes.
  • 10 per cent reservation in jobs and educational institutions for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) will be implemented for all castes and communities without discrimination.
  • The party will fill all backlog vacancies in posts reserved for the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes within a period of one year.
  • Congress will abolish the contractualisation of regular jobs in the government and public sector enterprises and ensure the regularisation of such appointments.
  • The party will enhance institutional credit to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for home-building, starting businesses and purchasing assets.
  • The party has promised to launch a Mahalakshmi scheme across the country under which it will provide Rs one lakh per year to every poor Indian family as an “unconditional cash transfer”.
  • Congress will establish an authority to monitor the distribution to the poor of government land and surplus land under the land ceiling Acts.
  • The scope of the Public Procurement Policy will be expanded to award more public works contracts to contractors belonging to the Scheduled Castes.
  • Funds for scholarships for students belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Other Backward Classes will be doubled, especially for higher education.
  • The party would guarantee a new ‘Right to Apprenticeship Act’ to provide a one-year apprenticeship to every diploma holder or graduate below the age of 25 years.
  • Congress will establish a network of residential schools for the poor, especially students belonging to the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, and extend them to every block.
  • The party will respect and uphold the fundamental right to practice one’s faith and the rights guaranteed to religious minorities under Articles 15, 16, 25, 26, 28, 29 and 30 of the Constitution. It will also respect and uphold the rights of linguistic minorities guaranteed under Articles 15, 16, 29 and 30 of the Constitution.
  • The party will encourage and assist students and youth belonging to minorities to take full advantage of the growing opportunities in education, employment, business, services, sports, arts and other fields.
  • The party will restore the Maulana Azad Scholarships for study abroad and increase the number of scholarships.
  • The party would ensure that banks provide institutional credit to minorities without discrimination. It will also ensure that minorities receive their fair share of opportunities in education, healthcare, public employment, public works contracts, skill development, sports and cultural activities without discrimination.
  • The party will ensure minorities have the freedom of choice of dress, food, language and personal laws.
  • The party will encourage the reform of personal laws.
  • The party would meet long-standing demands for the inclusion of more languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.