The manifesto endorses providing grants to English medium schools
The ruling Congress on Monday released its election manifesto for the State Assembly polls promising 50 per cent reservation for women in local self-government as against the present 33 per cent.
Reiterating its commitment to parents to choose Medium of Instruction (MoI) for their children at primary level, the ruling Congress through its manifesto sought to endorse the Government's controversial decision to give grants to English-medium primary schools last year. Earlier, the State had a policy to give grants only to primary schools that had regional language as the medium of instruction.
In its manifesto released on Sunday, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had stuck to its stand of backing the universal principle of primary education to be in mother tongue and promised to resolve the controversy over the medium of instruction in the State by finding an acceptable solution to the woes of the primary schools which switched over to English last year following a change of policy. The schools had come under a crisis because of a court case filed by parents opposed to the changed policy.
The All India Congress Committee general secretary, Oscar Fernandes, released the manifesto in the presence of national and State leaders of the party. It promised to give salary grants to all primary schools which taught in Konkani, Marathi, any other Indian language, and English. The promise was in line with the Congress's decision to change the policy of grants to primary schools by opening it to English last year. To pacify the local language protagonists who had been spearheading an agitation, its manifesto has gone on to promise that “Konkani/Marathi will be made compulsory from Class 1 to10 in all primary, secondary, and high schools which had English as medium of instruction.”
It promised to support development of Konkani, Marathi and other Indian languages with various academic and funding measures.
Mining issue skirted
The Congress manifesto has tried to skirt the major issue of illegal mining which even led to an inquiry into illegal mining and exports by Shah Commission of Inquiry by merely stating: “No illegal mining will be allowed in Goa”. This is contrary to the promise of the BJP manifesto to probe all illegal mining and export cases through Lokayukta which it promised to appoint within 100 days of coming to power.
The Congress manifesto said the Lokayukta Bill passed by the Legislative Assembly would be implemented as and when it became a law.
The party had promised inclusive development and promised to take steps in increasing employment in agriculture, industry, and services sector.
The party has promised free water supply and electricity supply up to 150 units to Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Castes, and economically weaker families having annual income of below Rs. 1 lakh.
On the controversial Goa Regional Plan 2021(RP2021), the Congress says it will implement the land use plan only after addressing all concerns of the people and taking all stakeholders into confidence. It has promised to suitably amend the State Town and Country Planning Act to that effect. It will solve the problem of housing by providing 5,000 flats and row houses through the Housing Board Corporation in the next five years.“A committee of agricultural experts to survey fallow paddy fields and suggest an action plan to make it cultivable would be formed,” the manifesto said. It promised fast track courts to solve land related disputes.
The Congress has promised a slum-free Goa through rehabilitation of existing slum dwellers. The party has promised to increase the ceiling of medi-claim scheme from Rs 1.2 lakh to Rs.7 lakh covering all illnesses.
It has stated that all new industries will be required to recruit at least 80 per cent local employees through an undertaking to be given in writing while issuing licenses, violation of which may entail withdrawal of license or imposition of penalties.
The party has promised to establish a non-police security force duly trained to work as industrial, commercial and domestic security guards in various establishments, to be recruited among those who do not qualify for recruitment as policemen.
Panchayat raj reforms
The Congress has promised a thorough examination of the Goa Panchayat Raj Act and the Goa Municipalities Act for necessary reforms to make them more effective.
Eduardo Faleiro, Commissioner of NRI Affairs, who headed the Congress manifesto committee and handed over the manifesto to Mr. Fernandes on Monday, said a monitoring and evaluation committee would be constituted within a month of the completion of the electoral process. The committee would review the implementation of the policies and programmes as mentioned in the manifesto and publicise its findings every year.
The elections are scheduled for March 3.