CHANDIGRAH: Congress, seeking a third term in a row in Haryana, on Wednesday released its election manifesto for the October 15 polls, attempting to woo farmers and other sections, even as Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda promised to put the state on higher growth trajectory.
Seeking mandate in the name of development while promising to carry out welfare projects in various fields, the 23-page manifesto lays thrust on agriculture and horticulture, irrigation, energy, industry, trade, commerce, FDI, health, besides employment, women empowerment, Scheduled Caste and Backward Classes, urban and rural development and education with a promise to set up an university in every district.
The document says efforts for a separate high court for Haryana in Chandigarh will continue, mining will be resumed after getting approval from the Environment Department, students union elections will be permitted in universities and colleges while a roadmap will be prepared for each of the 90 Assembly segments so that their needs are fully met.
The manifesto was released at Panchkula jointly by Hooda, Congress General Secretary and party state in-charge Shakeel Ahmed, party Secretary Asha Kumari, chairman of the Manifesto Committee Ram Prakash, state Congress chief Ashok Tanwar and former MP Naveen Jindal. It was read out by Prakash.
Hooda said, “Congress does not want to sit on its past laurels, but intends to continue the unprecedented path of development growth and prosperity of Haryana in its endeavour to serve effectively. Now, we want to put Haryana on higher growth trajectory.”Haryana being a leading agrarian state, the manifesto says the government will pay 100 per cent interest of the farmer who return the short-term loan regularly and 50 per cent interest of the farmer who return the long-term loan regularly. Land acquisition policy will be further rationalised.
Efforts will continue to secure Centre’s approval to lower the interest rate on long-term loans of farmers to 4 per cent. Credit limit to the farmers will be provided on the similar pattern as industrialists. Organic farming will be promoted.
Minimum Support Prices of potatoes, onions and tomatoes, like other crops, should be fixed to safeguard the producers from being exploited and attempt will be made to persuade the Centre for this, the manifesto says.
With Traori in Karnal region famous for production of Basmati rice, a modern ‘Rice Improvement Centre’ will be set up there while Basmati festival will also be held each year, it said. A national-level vegetable and fruit market will be built in every district.
The manifesto said horticulture and orchard farming willbe encouraged by providing free saplings to panchayats while an international-level market will be established at Ganaur in Sonepat to promote sale of horticultural items.
On the irrigation sector, the manifesto said the present government has succeeded in getting “maximum” share in inter-state rivers and that efforts will be made to execute storage dam work on the upstream of the Yamuna expeditiously.
It said work will soon start on Lakhwar and Vayasi projects and added that efforts for Kisau and Renuka dams will continue. “Wherever possible, water bodies will be created by building barrages over rivers,” it said.
Noting that Sutlej Yamuna Link (SYL) is the lifeline of Haryana, Congress blamed the then INLD government for “completely failing” in protesting against the passing of ‘Punjab Termination of Agreement Act 2004’ by the Punjab Assembly and said it will continue the struggle on the issue.
The manifesto said check dams will be constructed to conserve water in Ghaggar, Markanda, Tangri and other seasonal rivers while arrangement will be made to clean the “polluted water flowing in the Ghaggar from neighbouring state”.
With the party drawing flak from Opposition parties over “power shortage”, the manifesto said Congress is fully sensitive to the growing demand for power for agriculture, industry and domestic consumers.
“Congress will install big plants based on gas and the existing thermal power plants will be modified. Our objective is to provide a minimum 22-hour power supply a day for various categories of consumers,” it said.
“On the mining site of coal of Mara Mahan Mega Coal Block in Madhya Pradesh, a thermal plant with the capacity of 2000 MW will be set up. If no site is available in Madhya Pradesh, coal will be transported and the thermal plant will be set up in Haryana,” the manifesto said.
Haryana will get 50% power from under-construction nuclear power plant at Gorakhpur in Fatehabad district.
On trade and industry, the manifesto said industrial centres will be created at Sirsa, Karnal, Hisar, Jhajjar and Yamunanagar. It promised the inflow of FDI in industry and processing and marketing sectors in agriculture will be encouraged.An Industrial Model Township, a long-pending demand of former Ambala MLA Venod Sharma who earlier this year floated his own party after leaving Congress, will be created in Ambala district, it said.
An administrative wing will be created to address problems of rice growers and exporters.At the state level, a trader commission will be formed to resolve the problems of traders.In the manifesto, Congress promised to open an universityin every district, a college in every tehsil and an IT institute in every block.
Six hundred acres of land has already been earmarked at Panchkula to set up an university, it said.
Standard of education at all levels in government schools will be raised and basic infrastructure will be consolidated, while an English-medium model school will be established in every block of each district.
For the health sector, the manifesto said a ‘Health Management System’ will be implemented to provide high-quality health services. The software will have information concerning the health of all citizens of the state.
“There will be a distinct identity for each individual. It could be linked to the Aadhar card also. A doctor in any hospital will be able to get complete medical information about any patient with its help. To begin with, it will be introduced in government hospitals,” it said.
To improve sanitation, special emphasis will be laid on building toilets while all villages will be converted to ‘Nirmal Grams’ (model villages) over the next five years. Use of polythene will be prohibited, the manifesto said.If Congress comes to power again, it will abolish manual scavenging by 2017.
It said a provision will be made so that at least 50 per cent youths of the state are accommodated in jobs in private factories and industries.The manifesto said with Haryana’s sports persons bringing laurels to the state by winning medals at various events including Olympic, Asian and the Commonwealth Games, stadia will be constructed in big villages and cities and sports goods will also be made available.
Talking about women empowerment and development, the manifesto said self-help groups at the village level will be encouraged to empower women financially.
Strict measures will be taken to ensure the safety of women. Special schemes launched to abolish gender discrimination will be intensified further.Women banks will be established in the state and in these banks, all employees and even account holders will be women.
Fifteen per cent women will be recruited in the police by 2017, it said.The manifesto said 1.5 lakh houses are being built incities and two lakh houses are being constructed in villages so that no person in the state lives without shelter.It said for the interest of SCs and BCs, a ‘Safai Karamchari Ayog’ will be set up while safai karamcharis (sanitation workers) will be recruited on regular basis instead of contractual employment.
On urban development, it said ‘Clean, Beautiful Haryana Yojna’ will be implemented in Gurgaon, Faridabad and Panchkula.With monthly pension of the old, physically challenged, destitute and widows to be raised from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500, Congress said if it came to power again, the party will set up old age homes in every district.
With a number of soldiers serving in the defence forces hailing from Haryana, the manifesto said while the UPA government has implemented ‘One Rank, One Pension’ scheme, it has not been notified yet, and promised that it will not let the Central government make any alteration to it.