With an eye on the forthcoming Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress has promised to introduce a sub-quota for the Most Backward Classes (MBCs), launch a special empowerment scheme for the girl child, open 500 new model schools and ensure broadband internet connectivity in all panchayats.

On the Ayodhya tangle, the party, taking a line different from that of the Bharatiya Janata Party, said it would pursue an equitable solution to the Babri Masjid dispute wherein all parties abide by the court verdict. “If negotiations are to be held, they must be between the parties to the dispute and must have legal sanction.”

The party, in its manifesto, said it would ask the Centre to appoint a Second States Reorganisation Commission for looking into the issue of creation of smaller States. The document was released by Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, Union Law Minister Salman Khursheed and National Technology Mission Chairman Sam Pitroda here on Friday. While small-sized States may be desirable, carving out a new State always creates complex issues.

Unlike MBCs, no promise has been made for giving a sub-quota to Ati Dalits and the minorities. While the “idea of having a sub-quota for the Ati Dalits would be explored”, the party would aim to provide a sub-quota for the socially and economically backward minorities.

The document was released simultaneously at 10 Congress zonal headquarters in the State. In Lucknow, the manifesto was released at the Pradesh Congress Committee headquarters.

Twenty lakh youths will be trained and given jobs in the next five years through the Uttar Pradesh Skills and Employment Mission that would be created to provide job-relevant skills.

An effective anti-corruption policy will be developed and the Chief Minister would be brought under the purview of the Lokayukta. A Code of Ethics for all the civil servants, ministers, MLAs, and MLCs, would be instituted. A ‘Kanya Sashaktikaran Yojana' (girl empowerment scheme) will be launched under which a fixed deposit would be made for a new-born girl child. Under the proposed scheme, the child would be entitled to Rs.50,000 on turning 18, and Rs.1 lakh on completing High School. The facility will be for the second girl child as well. Besides, a State Mahila Bank would be set up to give loans to the women's self-help groups (SHGs).

While agricultural loans will be made available at an interest rate of 6 per cent, the Congress has promised to ensure that at least 25 per-cent of the State's procurement would be from enterprises owned by minorities. An Enterprise Incentive Fund for SC, ST, OBCs and minorities would be launched. The party has also promised to provide free-metered electricity connections to every BPL, SC and ST household in the State.

Residential schools for students from the BPL, minority, SC, ST and OBC communities would be opened.