The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Friday released a populist manifesto for Punjab, promising laptop for all government school students, waiver on residential property tax, setting up of an NRI board, 33% reservation for women in government jobs and giving the state a Dalit deputy chief minister if it comes to power.
The manifesto, on the lines of the party’s promise in Delhi in 2015, also says the AAP government will set up Aam Aadmi canteens at sub-division and district levels where one-time meal will be available for Rs 5, and reduce the power tariff to half for usage up to 400 unit.
A team of AAP leaders led by Punjab in-charge Sanjay Singh released the manifesto, which also promises that Amritsar and Anandpur Sahib will be declared as holy cities.
Sanjay, who is national general secretary of the AAP, said all promises made by them in the previous six manifestos released for different categories “are an agreement with the people of Punjab and AAP will fulfil each promise”.
He said welfare of the Dalits, below poverty line (BPL) families, employees, farmers and women will be top on agenda of the AAP government, adding that the post of deputy chief minister will be given to a Dalit MLA.
The party also announced that the alleged mafia in transport, liquor and sand mining will be demolished and these sectors will be opened for general public.
“The passenger buses will be run by public transport and permits will be given to the unemployed youth. Similarly, the monopoly in liquor and sand mining will be broken and contracts will be given to youth,” the AAP said. They said the measure will help AAP achieve its target of creating 25 lakh new jobs in the state.
Setting up an NRI board
AAP alleged the previous government had failed to address the problems NRIs face. “AAP will set up an NRI board and properties of NRIs grabbed illegally by SAD and Congress leaders will be evacuated within 15 days, with certain exceptions due to court cases,” it said.
“The DCs (deputy commissioners) and SSPs (senior superintendents of police) will be directly responsible in case of any incidents of land grabbing of NRIs,” the AAP said.
AAP said Jan Lok Pal and Human Right Commission will be given more teeth to provide corruption-free government and also to uphold the human rights.
The party said investigating all cases of alleged sacrilege and giving “exemplary punishment” to the guilty is another priority of the AAP.
Besides, law and order and road safety will be implemented with zero tolerance towards violators.
Education and health facilities
Sanjay said the party has also decided to launch a health insurance scheme, under which every resident of the state will be eligible for cashless treatment of up to Rs 5 lakh in private hospitals.
Education and health will form core areas of development. Every primary school will have minimum five teachers, 29,000 vacancies of teachers will be filled and about 30,000 new posts will be created.
Every village will have a ‘Pind Clinic’ and every urban area will have mohalla clinics on the pattern of Delhi, the manifesto says. Three medical colleges and degree colleges in unrepresented areas will be opened, it says.
AAP leaders said the party has promised with the employees to implement the sixth pay commission fully and revive the old pension scheme “which was discontinued by erstwhile Captain Amarinder Singh government”.
All contractual employees “direct or through outsourcing will be regularised”.
Farmers to be made debt-free
The farmers will be made debt-free by December 2018 and compensation for crop damage will be enhanced to Rs 20,000 per acre, besides giving Rs 10,000 to farm labourers in lieu of their salaries if crop gets damaged.
Sir Chhotu Ram Act of 1934 on farm debts will be implemented and those farmers who had paid interest more than the loan amount will be deemed as having paid.
The ‘ahrtiyas’ (commission agents) will not be allowed to charge interest more than bank rates.
On the drugs issue, which has emerged as a major issue being raised by the Opposition to target the SAD-BJP government, AAP said Punjab will be “drug-free and smugglers will be in jail within 15 days of forming government”.
Ex-servicemen will get 13% reservation in jobs and gallantry award winners, who are waiting for their award of land or money in lieu of land, will be compensated immediately.
The SC, ST and BC commission will be given full powers to deliver justice to deprived sections.
The AAP, if it forms the government in Punjab, will protect the interests of business class and industry. The power tariff for industry will be brought under Rs 5 per unit.
All existing schemes like “atta-dal scheme” will continue and eligible persons who were not included will be enrolled for the scheme, it said.