THE Indian National Congress on Friday released its Haryana poll manifesto, promising a farm loan waiver, reservation in private companies for local people and a slew of benefits for women including job quotas, pensions and free bus rides.
It also promised free electricity to categories of farmers and domestic consumers, and unemployment allowance to college degree holders.
In a controversial poll promise, the Congress said 75 per cent of jobs in private companies will be reserved for the youth of Haryana. It did not elaborate how this policy would be implemented.
The “sankalp patra” said loans to farmers will be waived “within 24 hours” if the party comes to power after the October 21 assembly polls.
Ghulam Nabi Azad, the All India Congress Committee general secretary in charge of the state, said there is a special focus on women.
The party promised 33 per cent reservation to women in government and private jobs in the state.
Apart from this, a Congress government will reserve 50 per cent of the jobs in Panchayati Raj institutions, municipalities, corporations and city councils for women.
Women who are widows, disabled or unmarried will get an allowance of Rs 5,100 per month. Pregnant women will get a monthly stipend of Rs 3,100 from the third month of their pregnancy.
There will also be a 50 per cent rebate on house tax if the property is owned by a woman, the Congress said in the manifesto released here. Women will also ride free in Haryana Roadways buses.
The 30-page document pledged to give loan waivers to farmers “within 24 hours”. The benefits of the waiver will also be provided to landless farmers, it said.
Free electricity will be given to farmers who own up to two acres of land, it said. Up to 300 units of power will also be free for all domestic consumers.
Unemployed postgraduates will get an allowance of Rs 10,000 per month and unemployed graduates will be given Rs 7,000 per month, the manifesto said.
If voted to power, the Congress government will offer annual scholarships of Rs 12,000 to students from class 1 to 10 and Rs 15,000 for those in classes 11 and 12 if they are from the scheduled caste or from extremely backward classes.
A scheduled caste commission will also be formed in the state if party comes to power, Haryana Congress chief Kumari Selja said.
A special probe panel will be formed to inquire into alleged scams during the term of the BJP-led government, she said.
Expressing concern over drug abuse, Selja said a special task force will be formed to combat the menace.
Selja slammed the Manohar Lal Khattar-led Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) government in the state, blaming it for “rising unemployment, drug abuse, the mining mafia, the transport mafia and the closure of industrial units”.
She claimed the northern state of Haryana had the highest unemployment rate of 28.7 per cent in the country.
Ghulam Nabi Azad said the party is committed to honouring all its poll promises.
He claimed that when the Congress-led UPA was in power at the Centre, it went beyond its poll promises.
“Unfortunately, there is difference in our party and other political parties — that we are hero in delivering but zero in publicity,” he said.
“But other parties, especially the one running the government at the Centre and in other states at present, are zero in delivering but hero in publicity,” he added, taking a dig at the BJP.
On the Sutlej Yamuna Link Canal dispute with neighbouring Punjab, the opposition party promised to make a strong case for the state in the Supreme Court.
Former Haryana chief minister and the Congress Legislature Party leader Bhupinder Singh Hooda, manifesto committee chairperson Kiran Choudhary and former railway minister Pawan Kumar Bansal were also present when the party released the manifesto.
In the current assembly, the BJP has a strength of 48 members and the Congress 17. The BJP is expected to release its manifesto on Sunday.