The election manifesto should not be a political gimmick. A true picture of the development of the country should be presented in it, but in the previous elections, most of the promises made by various parties have not been fulfilled. Nonetheless, both the major parties of the country, the BJP and the Congress have introduced their manifesto in the election battleground. The BJP has named its manifesto as the “Sankalp Patra”, while the Congress has named it as “Ham Nibhaayenge”.
In the manifesto, the BJP has said that it will terminate Article 370 and 35A from Jammu and Kashmir. The BJP says that it will provide relief to non-permanent residents and women. The BJP has also said that it will empower central security forces. These promises can be fulfilled because it requires only a majority in both the houses and will power.
The Congress has said in the manifesto that it will dismiss the section 124 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), defining the crime of sedition. The Congress has also said in the manifesto to bring an amendment to Armed Forces Special Rights Act, 1958. Congress believes that this will maintain a balance between the security forces and the citizens, but such provisions do not appear to be appropriate.
The BJP has promised to provide LPG cylinders to all the poor families. It is also talking about giving a permanent home to every family. It wants to provide electricity, water, and toilets to all households. Under the Ujjwala scheme, work has been done to provide gas cylinders to poor families.
At the end of 2018, 100 percent electrification work has been completed in the 25 states. According to the latest data, only 10.48 lakh houses have to be electrified in 4 states i.e. Assam, Rajasthan, Meghalaya, and Chhattisgarh. Swachh Bharat Mission-Rural was inaugurated on October 2, 2014, on the occasion of Gandhi Jayanti. At that time, there were only 38.70 per cent of homes free from defecation, which increased to 98.84 percent by January 31, 2019. In this way, the facility of gas cylinders, electricity and toilets can be made available to the common people. Yes, the BJP may have to face some difficulties in providing drinking water.
Under the minimum income scheme, Congress will directly deposit Rs 72 thousand per annum in the account of 50 million families. Rs 36 trillion is needed for implementation of this scheme. To make arrangements of funds, the existing government schemes like Mahatma Gandhi national rural employment guarantee act (MGNREGA), Public Distribution System (PDS), etc. will have to be closed. If this is done, then there will be an atmosphere of distrust among the people.
Since it is not possible to discontinue the existing schemes, it will be difficult for Congress to fulfill this promise.
The BJP has said in the manifesto that it will double the income of farmers by the year 2022, which can be fulfilled with the help of agriculture and allied activities, especially by animal husbandry. It will give interest-free Kisan Credit Card (KCC) up to Rs 1 Lakh, which will remain valid until five years. It wants to spend Rs 25 lakh crore on rural development. It wants to make land record digital. An interest-free KCC up to Rs 1 Lakh, expenditure on rural development or digitization of land records, giving pension to small and marginal farmers, etc. are possible. It can be accomplished through budget management.
The Congress will bring a separate budget for farmers. The Congress is also saying that in case of non-payment of the loan, the criminal case against farmers will be run as a civil case. It wants to increase the days of working under the Mahatma Gandhi National Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) from 100 to 150. Congress can fulfill these promises, as these are feasible.
The BJP is talking about creating new jobs in 22 major areas of the economy. It wants to come up with a new plan to provide employment opportunities in the North-Eastern states. Under the Mudra Scheme, loans have been provided to more than 17 crore entrepreneurs. The BJP wants to get it reached to 30 crore, whereas the Congress is talking about providing 22 lakh government jobs by March 2020. Millions of posts are currently vacant in the central and the states. Millions of employees are also needed at the Panchayat level. In the central and the states, millions of people are yet to be recruited. Congress has also said that youth will not need to complete any kind of formalities to start their own business. It seems that both the BJP and Congress can fulfill these promises.
The BJP has said to increase vacancies in educational institutions. It wants to increase the number of seats in management, science, law and engineering institutions. It wants to open 200 new Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas by 2024. To provide quality education, the BJP is also talking about setting up a training institute, so that the quality of education can improve. Congress has said in the manifesto that it will spend 6 percent of GDP on education. It wants to get it reached all the institutions on the highest level. On the education front, both the BJP and Congress can fulfill their commitments through budget management.
In order to bring improvement in the health sector, the BJP has announced to open 75 new medical colleges in the manifesto. The BJP also wants to ensure the availability of a doctor on 1400 people, providing first aid facility to every poor in the country by 2022. Under the Ayushman Bharat Scheme, half a million health and wellness centers will be opened by 2022.
At the same time, Congress is talking about strengthening the government hospitals, so that it can easily be provided to the poor with a high level of healthcare facilities. It is not easy to ensure the availability of a doctor on 1400 people, as per the annual report of the Central Bureau of Health Intelligence; there is currently a doctor available in India of 11,082 population.
It can be said that the BJP has made promises in its manifesto which can be fulfilled, but promises made by Congress cannot be fulfilled. Most of their promises may not come true on the realm of reality.
By Satish Singh
(Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. The facts and opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of AFTERNOON VOICE and AFTERNOON VOICE does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.)