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HindustanTimes Wed,27 Aug 2014

Manifesto watch: Cong, BJP, CPM and AAP stand on 10 key issues

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 07, 2014
First Published: 22:12 IST(7/4/2014) | Last Updated: 00:55 IST(8/4/2014)

From economy to foreign policy, from social security to minorities' welfare and women’s safety, here’s where parties stand on 10 key issues.

Economy

Tax reforms

BJP: Simpler tax regime; bring on board all states in rolling out goods and services tax (GST)
Cong: Enact Goods and Services Tax Bill and new Direct Tax Code Bill within a year
CPI(M): Implement GST only after ensuring a higher rate for states; raise wealth tax for super rich and introduce inheritance tax
AAP: Move towards simple, progressive and stable tax structure

Cap on fiscal deficit

BJP: Implement fiscal discipline without compromising on funds for development; short on specifics
Cong: Amend law to limit government borrowing to 3% of GDP by 2016-17
CPI (M): Re-impose controls on outflow and inflow of finance capital, withdraw proposal to increase FDI cap in insurance sector from 26 to 49%
AAP: Increase tax to GDP ratio

Read: Ram Temple in BJP manifesto, Congress complains to EC

Social Security

Affirmative action in private sector

BJP: Programmes to create ecosystem for education, skill development and entrepreneurship for SCs/STs and OBCs
Cong:  New policy to boost SC, ST representation in private firms
CPI(M): Enact special component plan for SC and for the tribal sub-plan for plan outlays at the Centre and states equivalent to the SC population at the national and state level
AAP: Silent

Right to Pension

BJP: Strengthen pension and health insurance safety nets for labourers
Cong: Universal pension scheme for elderly, destitute and widows and labour class
CPI(M): Establish publicly-funded, universal and non-contributory old age pension system with minimum monthly pension not less than 50% of minimum wage or Rs. 4,000 per month, whichever is higher.
AAP: Address pension, healthcare and insurance needs of more than 400 million workers in unorganised sector; bring in legislation.

Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, party president Rajnath Singh and senior leader Lal Krishna Advani release the party's election manifesto in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

Inclusive housing

BJP: Roll out low cost housing programme to ensure every family has a pucca house.
Cong: Right to homestead for poor households
CPI(M): Redistribute land to agricultural workers free of cost; provide homestead land to all rural households; construct rural dwellings for all rural workers
AAP: Silent

Education and youth

BJP: Audit Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan's performance; universalisation of secondary school education; launch ‘National Multi-skill Mission', focusing on employable skills
Cong: Teacher training; a regulator for private education providers; focus on reducing dropout rates
CPI(M): No FDI in higher education; public expenditure on education to be 6 % of GDP, action against private schools and elite institutions that fail to provide admission to children from economically weaker sections
AAP: Equitable access to high quality of education for all children irrespective of their ability to pay; strengthen public education system

Youth development
BJP: Focus on need-based skill development, employability even in sophisticated jobs 
Cong: National Commission for Youth; special youth development programme for Maoist-affected districts
CPI(M): Provision of jobs or unemployment allowance; sports missions — by both central and state governments 
AAP: Focus on creating decent employment and livelihood opportunities in honesty enterprises across agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors

Read: Congress manifesto pledges to boost growth rate

Transparency and governance

Fighting corruption

BJP: Focus on technology enabled e-governance; minimise discretion in citizen-government interface; simpler procedures
Cong: Clutch of anti-graft bills (championed by Rahul Gandhi)
CPI(M): Amend and strengthen the Prevention of Corruption Act and Lokpal Act to bring all contracts, agreements or MOUs of any kind between government and private sector within purview
AAP: Jan Lokpal Bill that will include under its purview the prime minister, union ministers and MPs

Delhi's former chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal, accompanied by his other party members, hold their party's manifesto ahead of the general election in New Delhi. (Reuters photo)

Agriculture and rural development

Boost farm incomes

BJP: Ensure minimum of 50% profits; cheaper agriculture inputs and credit; introduce latest technologies; link MGNREGA to agriculture
Cong: Set up ministry for fisheries, widen crop insurance
CPI (M): Increase minimum wages for agricultural workers to Rs. 300 per day; ensure equal wages for women workers; strict enforcement of minimum wages act
AAP: Secure farmers income; set up agricultural income commission

Strengthening rural infrastructure

BJP: Programme for 'Rural Rejuvenation' for well being of villagers
Cong: Set up storage facilities, warehouses; build roads
CPI(M): Remunerative crop prices covering all costs and crops; increase MSP to give a return of at least 50% above costs; expand procurement facilities
AAP: Set up cold storages, warehouses; build rural roads

Defence and security

BJP: Deal with cross-border terrorism with firm hand; strengthen the role of NIA and put a system in place for swift and fair trial of terror-related cases; reform the National Security Council to make it the hub of all sector-related assessments; set up the National Maritime Authority
Cong: A national commission for ex-servicemen and greater focus on combating Maoists
CPI(M): Revise Indo-US nuclear agreement; no import of foreign nuclear reactors; create national security apparatus; specific measures to the socioeconomic problems faced by tribal people in Maoist-affected areas
AAP: Create locally responsive structures of policing, security and governance while working towards long-term solution of effective decentralisation; modernise security forces

Read: AAP manifesto - Decide cases against Muslims fast, lower age to fight polls

Women's issues and safety

BJP: Launch Beti Bachao – Beti Padhao national camapign; strictly implement laws related to women, particularly those related to rape; 33% reservation for women in Parliament and assemblies
Cong: Citizens' charter for women's security; one-step crisis centres and fast-track courts for all crimes against women; special protection for Dalits; one-fourth of police force to be women; women's reservation bill top priority
CPI (M): Laws against honour crimes, trafficking of women and children; law for joint matrimonial property rights; passage and adoption in Lok Sabha of the one-third reservation bill for women in Parliament and assemblies
AAP: Strict laws against sex selective abortions and 33% reservation for women in Parliament and assemblies 

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice-president Rahul Gandhi releasing the party's election manifesto at AICC Headquarters in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

Foreign policy

BJP: Pursue friendly relations in neighbourhood, but not hesitate from taking strong stand and steps when required
Cong: Push for permanent seat at UN Security Council; intelligence sharing to counter terrorism
CPI (M): An independent and non-aligned foreign policy
AAP: Zero tolerance towards cross-border terrorism

Minorities' welfare

Reservation

BJP: Bring SC/ST, OBCs and other weaker sections within ambit of IT-enabled development
Cong: Achieve goal of reservation in jobs and education, pass communal violence bill
CPI(M): Include OBC Muslims in OBC quota with specific state-wise allocations; earmark 15% of priority sector lending by banks for Muslims
AAP: Promote inclusion, mixed neighbouhood in towns and cities; recognition of madarsa degree by colleges and universities.

Panchayats: grassroots empowerment

BJP: Empower panchayati raj institutions with devolution of functions, functionaries and funds
Cong: Increase panchayat funding, digitise all land records
CPI(M): Funds devolved to local bodies to be routed through state governments
AAP: Gram Sabhas to have supervisory role over government schools, primary health centres


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