Dr. Manmohan Singh on Monday launched the Punjab Congress manifesto for the coming assembly elections with the confidence that the party, under the leadership of Captain Amarinder Singh, will undo the damage wreaked on the state by the Badal government.
Pointing to the tremendous potential of Punjab, which remained unexploited due to the Badals’ misgovernance over the past 10 years, Dr Singh said the state badly needed Captain Amarinder’s leadership at this juncture. Describing Captain Amarinder as a visionary, with a wealth of experience, Dr. Singh expressed the confidence that Punjab was in for a better time under the sate Congress president’s leadership.
Describing the election manifesto he said that it is a forward looking visionary document which promises the people of Punjab that the party will undo the damage done to Punjab economy by previous govt.
"In terms of agriculture, manufacturing, services, infrastructure, social services in all these areas the present set up has not been able to use the make adequate use of potential that exists,” Singh said while lashing out at the current BJP-Akali regime.
Singh said Punjab Congress chief Captain Amarinder Singh’s leadership in the state is "badly need.”
"Captain Sahab’s leadership is badly needed at a time because in him we have a leader of great vision. He has lot of wealth of experience and whose commitment to the cause of development in Punjab is unrivalled.”
"Punjab is in for better times in leadership of Amardinder and will see all around prosperity. His government will undo all damages and create a new path way for a better tomorrow which will see people of Punjab having higher per capita incomes, better employment for youth and better infrastructure for social development,” Singh said.
In the manifesto, Congress has vowed to solve water problem, clean up drug menace in 4 weeks, promises stipend of Rs 2500 for unemployed youth, provide electricity at Rs 5/unit, make pool of land for industries, free education for girls from Class I to PhD, housing to homeless, guardians of governance program to commence in which ex-service men will be deputed to keep a watch on government’s policies.
Manmohan Singh also spoke on demonetisation and said that it will affect the election results in Punjab as well.
"Demonetisation is an important issue which will figure in Punjab as well," he said.
"It has been proven now that the country's GDP will be affected by demonetisation. National income unit of the CSO (Central Statistical Organisation) has come out with a statement that GDP growth will be 7.1 percent as against the target of 7.6 percent, but this does not take into account the effect of demonetisation," said the former prime minister.
In a first, the manifesto was simultaneously launched by state party leaders Manpreet Singh Badal in Chandigarh, Maharani Preneet Kaur in Patiala, Sunil Jakhar in Bathinda, Vijay Inder Singla in Ludhiana, Dr. Amar Singh in Jalandhar and Rana Gurjit Singh in Amritsar. The manifesto was released in both English and Punjabi in online soft format, with hard copies of the same distributed to the media.
The five main poll promises made by the party are:
* Zero-tolerance policy for drug smugglers, peddlers, police officials, politicians, bureaucrats or public indulging in narcotics trafficking. The party has also vowed to confiscate properties of drug dealers within 30 days of assuming power and close 5% liquor shops every year.
* Loan waiver to farmers, increase in crop compensation and crop insurance --- apart from raising ex-gratia to Rs 10 lakh to families of debt-ridden farmers who committed suicide.
* One lakh taxis and other commercial vehicles per year to be provided to unemployed youth at subsidised rates besides a job to every household.
* End the VIP culture by abolishing red beacon lights except on emergency vehicles, 90% cut in security personnel for politicians and officials and a two-year ban on foreign travel except where mandatory.
* A free house or 5 marla land to homeless Dalits, OBCs and minorities with annual income less than Rs 5 lakh, job for at least one person in every SC family, increase in reservation for OBCs from 12% to 15%, OBC reservation in educational institutions to be doubled from 5% to 10% and waiver of loans for minorities for self-employment activities.