In the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, political parties have started making promises to win the favour of their electorate. Congress president Rahul Gandhi has promised to provide Rs 72,000 per annum to the poorest families in India under a minimum basic income guarantee scheme, if his party comes to power. This will be the final attack on poverty, the Congress has claimed.
This is not the first noteworthy promise Rahul Gandhi has made ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Here's a look at Rahul Gandhi's promises that could attract voters' attention in the upcoming elections:
Education budget to be raised to 6% of GDP
Addressing an election rally in Telangana, Rahul Gandhi said that the education budget would be raised to 6 per cent of the GDP if UPA is voted to power in the 2019 elections. The increased expenditure in education is substantially more than the present level. As per the current Union HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar, education spending (under the NDA rule) has gone up from 3.8 per cent of the GDP in 2014 to 4.6 per cent.
Filling 22 lakh vacant government jobs
Rahul Gandhi targeted the weak spot of the BJP government in power i.e. jobs. To generate employment Rahul Gandhi announced that Congress would fill 22 lakh vacant positions in the government by March 31, 2020.
To achieve this mammoth task, Rahul Gandhi further clarified, "Devolution of funds from the Centre to each State Govt for healthcare, education etc. will be linked to these vacant positions being filled."
As per information compiled from parliamentary questions and answers, there are over 29 lakh posts lying vacant with the central and state governments. There are 13 lakh vacancies in the education sector, 2.53 lakh permanent posts in Indian Railways and 4.43 lakh posts in the police forces.
Today, there are 22 Lakh job vacancies in Government.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 31, 2019
We will have these vacancies filled by 31st March, 2020.
Devolution of funds from the Center to each State Govt for healthcare, education etc. will be linked to these vacant positions being filled.
Planning commission to replace NITI Aayog
Rahul Gandhi also said that if he is voted to power in the 2019 elections then he will scrap NITI Aayog and replace it with a lean Planning Commission. The leaner Planning Commission will have a staff of less than 100 and would consist of renowned economists and experts, Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
Modi government after coming to power scrapped the Planning Commission and formed NITI Aayog via a resolution of the union cabinet on January 1, 2015. NITI aayog is the premier policy think tank of the Government of India, providing both directional and policy inputs.
If voted to power, we will scrap the NITI Aayog. It has served no purpose other than making marketing presentations for the PM & fudging data.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 29, 2019
We will replace it with a lean Planning Commission whose members will be renowned economists & experts with less than 100 staff.
Revamping start-up rules
Rahul Gandhi has announced that if his party comes to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections then no new business will need any permissions for the first 3 years. He has also said Congress will scrap angel tax and offer "solid incentives and tax credits" based on the number of jobs a start-up creates. He also added that the businesses would get easy bank credit.
Youngsters,— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 28, 2019
Want to start a new business? Want to create jobs for India?
Here’s our plan for you:
1. ZERO permissions for the first 3 years of any new business.
2. Goodbye Angel Tax
3. Solid incentives & tax credits based on how many jobs you create.
4. Easy Bank Credit
Angel tax is levied from a privately-held company when it raises funds at a rate higher than its actual valuation. In India, Angel Tax applies if a company raises funds at a 30 per cent premium on actual value. As per the current norms, angel tax is charged at a maximum rate of 30 per cent.
Also, in an interview to PTI, Rahul Gandhi said: "We've said that we will remove the draconian and ill-conceived angel tax. I've made that commitment and it's going to be done...For the first three years of setting up a new business, we are going to free you up from red tape. You will not need to ask for permission for anything,"
Minimum income guarantee
Rahul Gandhi has announced that Rs 72,000 will be deposited every year in the accounts of 20% of the poorest Indian families under the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) scheme if Congress is elected to power in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. While the exact nature of the scheme and how it would work caused some confusion, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala came with a clarification later.
Surjewala also added that the minimum income guarantee scheme is women-centric and the money will be directly credited to the bank accounts of the women of the households.
Today is a historic day..— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 25, 2019
It is on this day that the Congress party launched its final assault on poverty.
5 Crore of the poorest families in India, will receive Rs. 72,000 Per Year#NyayForIndia is our dream & our pledge.
The time for change has come.
Women reservation bill
Rahul Gandhi has also promised to get the women reservation bill approved in the Parliament. If passed, the bill will reserve 33 per cent seats in national and state assemblies for women.
"Frankly, I don't see enough women in leadership positions. I don't see them leading enough companies, I don't see them leading enough states, I don't see enough of them in the Lok Sabha and the Vidhan Sabhas," Rahul Gandhi had said
At present, in the 16th Lok Sabha, only 12 per cent of members of parliament are women.
"We need more women candidates. The first thing we will do when we win the 2019 election is to pass the Women's Reservation Bill in Parliament. We want to see women in positions of leadership," Rahul Gandhi was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
33% reservation for women in government jobs
As per the Election Commission of India, the nation's voter list comprises 43.17 crore women voters who constitute nearly half of all the eligible voting population of India. To woo this significant electorate, Congress has promised reservation of one-third, or 33 per cent, government jobs at the Centre for women. Rahul Gandhi announced this on March 13 while addressing female students at a college in Chennai.
"Not just in Parliament and state legislatures, Congress will reserve 33 per cent of all posts and vacancies for women in central government, central government organisations and CPSUs. We also want to increase the expenditure on education (in the budget) and are discussing with the manifesto committee to make it 6 per cent," Rahul Gandhi had said while interacting with students of Stella Maris College for Women.
In its 2014 election manifesto also, Congress had promised reservation for women in police forces. This time, the party has increased the ambit of reservation to all the government jobs at national level.
Next generation GST
Goods and Services Tax (GST) came into effect from July 1, 2017 under the incumbent NDA government with the aim to unify indirect tax across India. The reform saw widespread opposition and criticism from Congress.
"The BJP's GST has put the Indian economy in a sticky situation, with GDP growth sliding down to its lowest in three years at only 5.7% in the first (June) quarter of 2017 as a direct result of GST from an already sluggish 6.1%, thanks to the demonetisation disaster," Congress has put up on its official website.
During political meetings and rallies over the past few weeks, Congress president Rahul Gandhi has strongly criticised the tax regime for its multiple tax slabs and alleged complexity, mockingly calling it 'Gabbar Singh Tax'. Moreover, he has promised to reform and simplify GST if his party wins the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Basic idea behind GST is one tax, simple tax, minimum tax. Mr. Modi has sold the country something which isn't GST- it is #GabbarSinghTax: Congress President @RahulGandhi#RahulDemocracyDialoguepic.twitter.com/MOdACE9dH9— Congress (@INCIndia) March 20, 2019
Right to Healthcare
Congress president Rahul Gandhi has said that he will introduce Right to Healthcare for all Indians if he comes to power in 2019. This move is meant to counter PM Modi's flagship healthcare scheme Ayushman Bharat which provides health insurance cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family every year.
Rahul had criticised Ayushman Bharat on the grounds that "it gives insurance without a proper support structure from hospitals and medical professionals". So to replace it, Congress will introduce Right to Healthcare Act, through which Congress will guarantee minimum healthcare to all Indians, by increasing the expenditure on healthcare to 3 per cent of GDP and hiring more healthcare professionals.
In our manifesto, we are considering a Right to Healthcare Act, where we guarantee certain minimum healthcare to all Indians, increasing our expenditure to about 3% of GDP and increasing the number of healthcare professionals: Congress President @RahulGandhi#HealthcareForAllpic.twitter.com/v80MpIWUGd— Congress (@INCIndia) March 15, 2019
Special status to North-Eastern states
If elected to power in 2019 elections, Congress has promised to restore the special category status to Arunachal Pradesh and other north-eastern states. At a recent election rally, Gandhi had said that there are certain states in the country which require special status because of their "unique problems and difficulties" such as connectivity, terrain, infrastructure.
The North Eastern states face some unique problems when it comes to transportation and connectivity.— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) March 19, 2019
Unlike the BJP, we recognise this.
Once elected, we will restore the special category status to these states, so that they get the attention they deserve. pic.twitter.com/uvvjkn8H40