Tribune News Service
Shimla, November 1
The Congress today unveiled a 31-page manifesto for the Himachal elections scheduled for November 9, primarily wooing the youth, farmers, employees and women, who constitute a huge chunk of the electorate. Promising a corruption-free “decentralised” government, the party opted for tall promises, notwithstanding the state's grim financial health.
Edit: Himachal elections
The manifesto was released here today by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, AICC general secretary Sushil Kumar Shinde and Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur, chairman of the manifesto committee.
Keen to cash in on the anti-GST sentiment, the Congress promised to enhance the GST limit from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh. With unemployment emerging as a key issue (there are close to 10 lakh jobless youth in the state), it promised to create 1.5 lakh jobs. Since it was the promise of unemployment allowance that catapulted the Congress to power in the previous elections, the party announced to enhance the same from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500.
The focus of the manifesto was on agriculture and horticulture. “Small and marginal farmers will be given interest-free loans up to Rs 1 lakh and 90 per cent subsidy on anti-hail nets, insecticides, pesticides and fencing against stray animals,” announced Thakur.
The state has 2.5 lakh government employees and an equal number of pensioners. Hence, the party has promised the employees with 4-9-14 benefits, regular jobs for those on contract within two years and enhanced daily wages from Rs 210 to Rs 350.
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