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Congress manifesto may offer unemployment aid via DBT, subsidised LPG, Gruha Lakhsmi sops

New Delhi: Unemployment allowance to beneficiaries through direct benefit transfer (DBT), heavily subsidised cooking gas cylinders, sops for poor women on the lines of Karnataka’s Gruha Lakshmi scheme, and doing away with the Agnipath scheme for recruitment to armed forces — these are some of the promises the Congress is expected to make in its manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi announced that the manifesto will have strong measures against paper leaks in the country. (ANI)

The party’s manifesto is likely to address most raging issues, covering broad categories such as youth, women, farmers and workers.

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“By combining the suggestions received from everyone, Congress is preparing a concrete and foolproof plan to make the recruitment process of youth transparent, and very soon we will present our vision before you,” senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi posted on X.

Also Read: Congress may assure scholarship package for caste groups in election manifesto

He also announced that the manifesto will have strong measures against paper leaks in the country.

High unemployment has remained the talking point of the Congress for the past few years. Though the latest figures of economic think-tank CMIE show the unemployment rate has sharply decreased to 6.8% in January 2024 as against 8.7% in December last year, the Congress finds the current level as unacceptable and plans to woo young voters by offering assured unemployment allowance to be distributed through DBT.

Even as the latest unemployment figures are lowest in 16 months, Rahul Gandhi has claimed India’s joblessness is higher than some of its neighbouring countries. “Today, there is the maximum unemployment in the country in the last 40 years. India has double the unemployment as compared to Pakistan. We have more unemployed youth than Bangladesh and Bhutan because Narendra Modi has finished small businesses by demonetization and implementing GST,” the former Congress president said in Gwalior on Sunday. His Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra is currently passing through Madhya Pradesh.

Also Read: Congress manifesto based on Rahul’s yatra to promise MSP law, caste census

Similarly, in a bid to lessen the price burden of households, the Congress may promise heavy subsidy and offer cooking gas cylinders for 450-500, if voted to power in the general elections this summer. The party had offered similar sops during the last set of assembly elections in November last year. In Chhattisgarh, it promised a gas cylinder at 494 while in Madhya Pradesh and Telangana, it offered cooking gas at 500 each. The Centre had slashed the price of cooking gas by 200 ahead of the state elections, in which the Congress won only in Telangana and lost in three key Hindi heartland states. As on Tuesday, a non-subsidised LPG cylinder costs 903 in Delhi.

The Congress may also propose to scrap the Agniveer scheme—which gives four-year job in the armed forces with chances of absorption for a section of Agniveers—and reinstate the old method of permanent recruitment. At the Jan Vishwas Rally in Patna this week, Gandhi pointed out that under the scheme, former Agniveer soldiers would not get any pension.

Two senior leaders who are part of the manifesto committee maintained that the party has received feedback from Agniveers and their family members and “there is frustration among the people over not getting permanent jobs in the armed forces below the rank of an officer,” said a leader.

Also Read: Farm loan wavier, legalising MSP to be in Congress manifesto, claims Partap Singh Bajwa

The Congress party is also considering a pan-India Gruha Lakshmi scheme that has been launched by its government in Karnataka. Under the scheme poor What is the Gruha Lakshmi scheme? The Karnataka government launched the Gruha Lakshmi the state government gives 2,000 monthly assistance to the woman head of BPL families.

The Congress manifesto, according to the two leaders, may offer rebate in interest rate on education loan, make bus travel free for women, rework the GST rates and slash GST on some of the farm equipment.

After a marathon meeting of the manifesto panel, its chairman P Chidambaram said, “We have prepared the draft manifesto. Now it will go to the CWC. They will finalize the manifesto. Tomorrow we will hand over this draft to the Congress president.”

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