Free Healthcare, Rs 1 Lakh For Poor: Key Highlights Of Congress Manifesto

The manifesto was released by party chief Mallikarjun Kharge and former party presidents Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi.

Free Healthcare, Rs 1 Lakh For Poor: Key Highlights Of Congress Manifesto

The Congress has promised universal and free healthcare.

Congress today released its manifesto for the Lok Sabha elections with a focus on unemployment, women's empowerment and a socio-economic caste census, among other things. "The Constitution of India shall remain our sole guide," the manifesto read.

Key Highlights Of Congress Manifesto:

  1. Congress will conduct a nation-wide socio-cconomic caste census to "enumerate the castes and sub-castes and their socio-economic conditions". Based on the data, the Congress said, it will strengthen the agenda for affirmative action. The party said that it will pass a constitutional amendment to raise the 50 per cent cap on reservations for SC, ST and OBC categories. 

  2. The Congress said it will respect and uphold the fundamental right to practice one's faith and the rights guaranteed to religious minorities under Articles 15, 16, 25, 26, 28, 29 and 30 of the Constitution. It said it will also uphold the rights of linguistic minorities guaranteed under Articles 15, 16, 29 and 30 of the Constitution.

  3. Under current provisions, pension for senior citizens, widows and persons with disabilities under the National Social Assistance Programme is Rs 200-500 per month. Congress said it will raise this amount to Rs 1,000 per month.

  4. The Congress has promised universal and free healthcare in public health centres such as hospitals, clinics, primary health centres, mobile healthcare units, dispensaries and health camps. Free healthcare will include examination, diagnostics, treatment, surgery, medicines, rehabilitation and palliative care.

  5. The Congress manifesto promises a new Right to Apprenticeship Act to provide a one-year apprenticeship with a private or a public sector company to every diploma holder or college graduate below the age of 25. Apprentices will get Rs 1 lakh per year. 

  6. The Congress said it brought in the Right to Education (RTE) Act in 2009 which "transformed" education for children between the ages of 6 and 14. The party said it will amend the RTE Act to make education from Class I to Class XII in public schools compulsory and free.

  7. The Congress said it will launch a Mahalakshmi scheme to provide Rs 1 lakh per year to every poor Indian family as an unconditional cash transfer. The poor will be identified among the families at the bottom of the income pyramid. 

  8. The Congress promises one-third reservation for women in state Assemblies that will be elected in the next round of Assembly elections in 2025. The one-third reservation for women will also be applied to the Lok Sabha that will be elected in 2029.

  9. The party said it will give a legal guarantee to the Minimum Support Prices (MSP) announced by the government every year, as recommended by the Swaminathan Commission.

  10. It promised to introduce reforms in industrial and labour laws to "restore the balance between labour and capital to meet our twin goals of full employment and high productivity gains".

  11. The Congress said it will restore the subsidy for diesel for sea-going fishing communities. If presumed dead, death certificates will be issued within three months, it said. 

  12. The party said it will "save" democracy and give citizens "freedom from fear". "We promise to restore freedom of speech and expression including full freedom of the media," the manifesto reads. 

  13. The party said it will amend the Press Council of India Act, 1978 to strengthen the system of self-regulation, protect journalistic freedoms, uphold editorial independence and guard against government interference.

  14. The Congress said after consulting with the Supreme Court and the Chief Justices of the High Courts, it will establish a National Judicial Commission (NJC). The composition of the NJC will be decided in consultation with the Supreme Court. The NJC will be responsible for the selection and appointment of judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court. It added that all vacancies in the High Courts and Supreme Court will be filled within three years.

  15. The party said it will fill the "nearly 30 lakh vacancies" in sanctioned posts at various levels in the central government, teaching and non-teaching posts in central educational institutions, posts of doctors, nurses, paramedics and other supporting staff in central government medical institutions, and vacancies in the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF).

  16. The Congress said that as a "one-time measure of relief", the amount due, including unpaid interest as of 15 March 2024, with regards to student education loans, will be written off, and the banks will be compensated by the government.

  17. The Congress said it will establish a Diversity Commission that will measure, monitor and promote diversity in public and private employment and education. It said it would abolish application fees for government examinations and government posts.

  18. The Congress promised to amend the 10th Schedule of the  Constitution and make defection (leaving the original  party on which the MLA or MP was elected) an automatic disqualification of the membership in the Assembly or Parliament.

  19.  It said it will abolish the Agnipath programme and direct the Armed Forces (Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard) to resume normal recruitment to achieve the full sanctioned strength.

  20. Another key promise in the Congress manifesto is restoration of full statehood of Jammu and Kashmir. 

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