With less than ten days to go for the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday released the party's manifesto for the polls.
Titled 'We will deliver,' party chief Rahul Gandhi dubbed the manifesto the 'voice of the people.' From NYAY to farm loan waivers, the Congress manifesto declares that it will usher in a new India. The Congress chief has also signalled that he is listening to voices down south as the manifesto promises several benefits for southern India.
Rahul Gandhi said that he is contesting from Wayanad to make sure that the party stands for the aspirations of South India, which he claims the Modi government has ignored.
How would a Congress-led government be different from the present one? What does the manifesto mean for the people of Tamil Nadu?
The first and foremost promise of direct concern to Tamil Nadu is the pledge to scrap the National Eligibility-Cum-Entrance Test (NEET). The state has been fighting to remove NEET for years now. The DMK in its manifesto has also promised the abolition of NEET. Calling it discriminatory against students from certain states, the Congress manifesto says that it is the right of the state government to admit its students to medical colleges in the state. After dispensing with NEET, an equivalent standard exam will be held at state level.
2. School Education in State List:
Apart from announcing that six per cent of GDP will be allocated to education, the party also proposes to transfer School Education to the State List, which has been a long pending demand from the state.
3. Ministry of Fisheries and Welfare of Fisherfolk:
The Congress proposes to establish a separate Ministry of Fisheries and Welfare of Fisherfolk, which will pave the way to address the long pending fishermen issue in the state. The manifesto also promises to establish a permanent mechanism with neighbouring countries, which could ease the bitter relationship with Sri Lanka.
4. Farm loan waiver, Kisan Budget:
The Congress party has promised that it will form a pro farmers government if it's voted to power and says it will end the agrarian crisis. In its manifesto, it promises to waive the outstanding farm loans in every state like it did in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. It also said that the debt-ridden farmers won't be liable for criminal proceedings. In addition to this, the manifesto also states that there will be a separate 'Kisan Budget' to ensure the agriculture sector is given due priority. This will again benefit farmers in Tamil Nadu.
5. Petrol, diesel under GST:
In its GST 2.0, it promises to bring more transparency and simplicity in the tax system. It also promises to bring petroleum products under GST, which has been a long pending demand from the state.
6. Strike against unemployment:
The Congress promises to fill the 4 lakh vacancies in the public sector by March 2020 in a strike against unemployment. Earlier in February, a report showed that thousands of engineers and MBA graduates applied for sweeper jobs in the Tamil Nadu Assembly Secretariat.
The country goes to vote from 11 April to 19 May in seven phases. The results of the elections will be declared on 23 May. For elections related queries, click here.