Congress Party’s manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections is out in the public. Released on Tuesday by party president Rahul Gandhi, the manifesto promises to introduce a scheme (NYAY) to give Rs 72,000 poorest families under, 10 lakh employment a year for youth in Gram Panchyats, permission to start new business and run it without any permission for three years, de-criminalising of non-repayment of farmers’ debt, so on and so forth.
The manifesto also has a few significant other promises, ostensibly pertaining to Jammu and Kashmir, but addressing the Muslim voters from across the country in reality.
The contentious promises are: Reduction in the presence of Army and Central forces in the state, review of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) and the Disturbed Areas Act, and promise of safeguarding Article 370.
Another contentious promise is scrapping of Sedition Law (Section 124A of the Indian Penal Code).
Finance minister Arun Jaitely criticised the Congress of party for making dangerous and un-implementable promises. In an oblique reference to the manifesto points related to Jammu and Kashmir, Jaitely said they are aimed at “balkanisation of India”. He wondered if Congress has taken the help of “tukde tukde gang” to draft its manifestation, despite having a panel.
“What they have said is that from the IPC (Indian Penal Code), sedition will be removed. Being an anti-national will no longer be a crime. The party which makes such announcements, it does not deserve even a single vote,” he remarked.
Incidentally, economists have flagged off NYAY too ever since it was first spelt out by Rahul Gandhi a week ago. For, if implemented, the scheme would burden the exchequer by a whopping Rs 800,000 crore, which makes the scheme unfeasible.