NEW DELHI: Terming job creation as the “highest priority” for the economy, the Congress promised 34 lakh jobs in the public sector of which, it said 4 lakh vacancies in central government would be filled by March 2020.
The party manifesto released Tuesday also promised growth of the manufacturing sector and reviving micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs) to create jobs, primarily in the unorganised sector.
Unemployment, farm distress and women’s security was listed as top concerns.
“BJP wants to shift the narrative but they can’t change the truth. PM is trying to hide behind hollow narratives but he can’t do it anymore,” said Rahul Gandhi as he challenged Prime Minister Narendra Modi for a debate on issues of national security, corruption and foreign policy, among others.
The manifesto says a new ministry of industry, services and employment will be created to underline the link between the growth of the industry and services sectors and rapid creation of jobs.
The party would request state governments for filling an estimated 30 lakh jobs, including in panchayats and municipalities. There are also plans to create around 10 lakh Seva Mitra positions in every gram panchayat and urban local body to ensure effective delivery of government schemes.
With the MSMEs facing a massive hit post deomentisation and GST, the manifesto calls for linking the definition of MSME to employment. Also on the agenda is creating an enterprise support agency to help entrepreneurs, including startups.
Experts called it a bold manifesto but added that it should be taken with a pinch of salt.
“The interesting part is that a separate budget for agriculture is planned. However, increased number of work days from 100 to 150 under MNREGA doesn’t change much as data shows that average utilisation has been only 50 work days,” said Madan Sabnavis, chief economist of Credit Analysis & Research Limited.
Political analyst Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay says the Congress manifesto brings back the poll narrative on issues like unemployment and rural sector.