Rahul makes slew of promises before manifesto release

By  IANS | Updated:  Apr 02, 2019, 08:53 AM

rahul gandhi lok sabha elections 2019

Ahead of the release of the Congress manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections on Tuesday, party President Rahul Gandhi has been making a slew of promises that include Rs 72,000 each year to five crore poorest families, single slab Goods and Services Tax (GST) and filling 22 lakh government vacancies, among others.

The promises are part of the party's thrust on social and economic issues to oust the Narendra Modi-led government. 

On Monday, Gandhi took a dig at the Modi government over its smart city project and said that real smart cities are built by good leaders. He also promised that a Congress government will move to directly elected Mayors with five-year terms and elected councils. 

"Real smart cities are built by good leaders. To improve the quality of life in our cities, we will move to directly elected Mayors with 5-year terms and elected councils. Administration will be run by multidisciplinary teams of specialists and experts accountable to the Mayor and council," Gandhi said in a tweet. 

Gandhi has been giving an inkling into the party manifesto through his tweets. Gandhi made a big poll promise on Sunday, saying there were 22 lakh job vacancies in the government and if voted to power, his party will fill them in less than a year.

He said devolution of funds from the Centre to the state governments for healthcare, education and other schemes will be linked to these posts.

"Today, there are 22 lakh job vacancies in the government. We will have these vacancies filled by March 31, 2020. Devolution of funds from the Centre to each state government for healthcare, education etc. will be linked to these vacant positions being filled," Gandhi had said. 

On Saturday, Gandhi said that India needed restoration of its water bodies and afforestation, and his party will employ lakhs of rural youth for the purpose if voted to power. 

Gandhi has also been making promises in his election speeches. At a rally in Karanataka last week, he said the party will allow anyone to start a business without permits or clearances and offer tax holiday for the first three years.

"The Congress manifesto promises to allow anyone to start business without permits or clearances with tax holiday for the first three years to encourage entrepreneurship and create thousands of jobs across the country," he said. 

Gandhi told the gathering that his party's manifesto also promised to provide incentives, tax credits and easy bank loans based on how many jobs an entrepreneur or a company creates.

"No angel tax on investments in startups as it goes against entrepreneurship. We will abolish it to promote more startups for creating thousands of jobs," he said.

Angel tax is levied on the premium paid on investments in startups and unlisted firms to curb "laundering" under the Income Tax Act, as their valuations increase despite stagnant or declining revenues.

Gandhi also said the revolutionary Nyay scheme would remonetise India by crediting in the bank accounts of 25 crore people Rs 6,000 per month or Rs 72,000 per year for five years.

"We will also scrap the 'Gabbar Singh Tax' of the Modi government and replace it with a simple, one rate minimum tax as the NDA government's GST has looted traders and businesses," he said.

The Congress is also looking at the comprehensive report on India's national security presented to the party by Lt. General (Retd.) D.S. Hooda.

Gandhi has also promised scrapping of the NITI Aayog and replacing it with a lean Planning Commission.

The Congress has promised to reserve a third of Central government jobs for women and push the Women's Reservation Bill. 

It has also promised to take healthcare spending to 3 per cent of the GDP and boost spending on education by taking it to 6 per cent of the GDP in the next five years if the party is voted to power.

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