Congress drafts manifesto with focus on jobs, income support for poor

Draft to be placed before CWC for approval; proposals include ₹6,000 every month to 20% of poorest households, GST revamp, social security measures for gig workers and tax cuts

March 06, 2024 10:31 pm | Updated 10:31 pm IST - New Delhi

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge receiving the party’s draft manifesto for the 2024 Lok Sabha election.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge receiving the party’s draft manifesto for the 2024 Lok Sabha election. | Photo Credit: -

The universal basic income idea may have not worked for the Congress in the 2019 Lok Sabha election but the party will reintroduce the concept in its 2024 manifesto.

A copy of the draft manifesto was presented to party president Mallikarjun Kharge on Wednesday by P. Chidambaram, who heads the party’s Manifesto Committee. Other members of the panel who accompanied Mr. Chidambaram included Shashi Tharoor, K. Raju and Imran Pratapgarhi. 

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), Mr. Kharge wrote, “Our Draft Manifesto based on “NYAY” for the 2024 Lok Sabha Elections is ready and was presented to me, today, by the Congress Manifesto Committee”.

The draft document will now be placed before the Congress Working Committee (CWC) for its final approval. 

The manifesto has a clear focus on employment and livelihood issues, anti-inflationary measures and social justice.

The guarantee template, which has been used by the party in the recent Assembly elections, will be back with nyuntam aay yojana (nyay) or universal basic income guarantee. 

The party proposes to give ₹72,000 annually or ₹6,000 every month to 20 per cent of the poorest households if they come to power at the Centre. The women of these poorest households will be entitled to the scheme.

Sources said party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, who is a member of the manifesto committee, pushed for this idea.

Women’s reservation

The party could also promise one-third reservation for women in government jobs.  Other proposals include doubling of scholarship amounts at every level, setting up start-up funds, funding for sportspersons, as well as social security measures such as pension for gig economy workers. 

The party’s economic proposals include revamping the goods and services tax (GST) to provide a level playing field for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

As TheHindu has been reporting, jobs creation will be a focus area and for that, the party is likely to promise tax cuts to incentivise private sector investments.

The party also argues that the “climate of fear” needs to go and a “harmonious society” needs to be created to boost investments. Towards this end, the party could promise to take a relook at the powers of Central agencies such as the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and Income Tax (IT) departments. 

On Tuesday, former party president Rahul Gandhi and Professional Congress chief Praveen Chakravarty, who is also one of the authors of the manifesto, met with a group of chartered accountants in Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh, for their feedback. 

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