Congress releases manifesto, promises Rs. 500 cr drought fund

Prithvi-RajThe Congress on Thursday released its manifesto for the Maharashtra assembly polls, promising increased income limit for beneficiaries of a health scheme from Rs. 1.5 lakh to Rs. 2.5 lakh, besides police stations for women as well as elimination of manual scavenging in the state.

Releasing the manifesto which was prepared by a committee headed by former Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan told that the income limit for beneficiaries under the popular Rajiv Gandhi Jeevandayi Health Scheme would be raised to Rs. 2.5 lakh.

The Congress manifesto also promised that five per cent of the annual budget under the special component plan would be earmarked for the welfare of nomadic tribes and denotified tribes, he said.

He said that a permanent provision of Rs. 500 crore for a “drought fund” would be made for drought prone districts. The Congress manifesto said that farmers in the state would be supplied electricity for eight hours during day time and ten hours at night.

“If a crop is lost to the extent of 60 per cent, its damage will be treated as 100 per cent,” the manifesto said. A separate television channel named ‘Krishi Darshan’ would be launched to inform farmers about modern agricultural technology, various government schemes and success stories of farmers, the manifesto said.

Mango and cashew nut boards would be established for the benefit of farmers of these crops and subsidy would be provided through the board, it said. The manifesto said that restriction on marketing agriculture produce would be removed.

The Congress has promised fast track courts to implement the Prevention of Atrocities Act.

The Congress manifesto has promised to ensure that Maharashtra state’s gross domestic product (GDP) would grow at a rate of 10 per cent per annum. All minor and medium irrigation projects would be completed and a massive water conservation campaign would be initiated in the state, the manifesto said.

The party has vowed to ensure that the state’s first rank as the most industrialised state would be maintained. A network of minor, small and medium industries would be created to maximise job opportunities and employment would be generated through horticulture processing as well as agri-processing units, the manifesto said.

The party has promised good quality, ob-oriented vocational and technical education.

Financial help to construct houses would be raised from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2 lakh, the manifesto said. The Congress manifesto has also promised formation of the Shamrao Peje Financial Development Board for the welfare of the Kunbi community.

It has assured “all-inclusive progress” and development of the fishing community. The age limit of senior citizens would be brought down from 65 years to 60 years and old age pension would be raised from Rs 600 to Rs 1,000, the manifesto said.