CHANDIGARH: With a bit more than a week to go for the election, it's raining job promises in Himachal Pradesh. The Congress manifesto, released on Wednesday, promises 1.50 lakh jobs if the party is returned to power.
Health minister Kaul Singh said the Virbhadra Singh government generated 75,000 jobs during the five-year term that's just ending. However, he saw no problem in bumping up the figure to 1.50 lakh jobs in the next five years.
By making jobs its main poll pitch, the Congress was singing the same song as the BJP, which on Monday released a vision document that was equally pregnant with employment promises. Union finance minister Arun Jaitley said the thrust areas of the party's government, if voted to power, would be employment, education, healthcare and transportation.
The saffron party said it will boost employment by harnessing Himachal's tourism potential, particularly by developing a pilgrim circuit called Dev Bhumi Darshan. The Congress manifesto states that it will liberalise the transport sector to create self-employment opportunities.
Apart from jobs, the ruling party promises to regularise the services of contract employees in two years, and extend pensions to workers in the unorganised sector while giving existing pensioners a substantial hike.
The party pledged to enhance social security pensions and old-age pensions paid to persons aged 65, 70 and 75 years by 5, 10 and 15 per cent.
The other significant promises by the Congress include: laptops for 50,000 youngsters, higher compensation for landowners if their land is acquired for road projects.