Punjab Assembly elections are to be held in January 2012. The people of the Punjab have to make a choice: a choice between progressive, all inclusive development agenda of Congress and corrupt and opportunistic forces which have bankrupted the State and put Punjab on downward spiral of growth.
Today Punjab is facing crisis in all spheres, be it stagnating agriculture, flight of industry from Punjab, poor education quality, poor healthcare, rising epidemics of cancer and drug addiction, unprecedented power cuts and empty treasuries. Through this manifesto, Congress presents a progressive agenda which will rejuvenate agriculture ushering a second green revolution and revive Industry in Punjab. Congress is committed to provide 24×7 power supply to all users by adding capacity, restructuring and reforming existing power distribution system. Congress is committed to improve law and order, make government machinery accountable to the people of Punjab and above all make Punjab regain its glory as the most developed and prosperous state in India.
Now the time has come for people to choose Congress for
- Firmly establishing the rule of law;
- Firmly put in place Good Governance by providing Corruption free and transparent governance with Participative decision making from the citizens;
- Generating attractive employment opportunities for the youth of Punjab through dedicated initiatives for Job Creation in the State
- Improving quality of education and ensuring highest quality of education for all;
- Revival of industrial base in Punjab with eye on attracting greater investments in the State
- Rejuvenating agriculture by strong policy intent and implementation
- Providing healthcare to all through special initiatives in Public Healthcare (like free insurance to marginalized sections)
- Providing uninterrupted power supply by making Punjab a Power surplus State;
- Equitable development for welfare for all marginalized sections of the society
- Providing safe and fast highways;
- Providing long term growth path against short term populism;
- Bringing Punjab back to its glory days by self discipline in cutting wasteful and aimless expenditure;
- Making Punjab the undisputed Number One state in India.
This Manifesto brings forth a blueprint of the regeneration and rejuvenation of Punjab that we, Congress party, visualize. Through this Manifesto, we pledge to serve the people of Punjab and bring back the glory of Punjab.
- 1. DISMAL STORY OF PUNJAB UNDER SAD-BJP RULE
Punjab in post independent India has held the special position as the most advanced state on all parameters be it the economic status of its citizens, infrastructure or education. The Punjabis universally famed for their hard work and entrepreneurial spirit ushered the green revolution and also made the state a manufacturing hub for various industrial activities, be it textile, sports goods, auto parts and machine tools.
However, during past five years while rest of India has been growing at unprecedented pace and entire world has started recognizing India as the next economic super power, Punjab under the misrule of corrupt SAD-BJP combine is on reverse path. Some indicators of misrule of SAD-BJP:
SAD-BJP has made the People of Punjab ‘Poorer’
- Whereas once Punjab was amongst the highest per capita income state, it is now ranked below its neighbour Haryana, and largely hill state like Uttarakhand. Overall Punjab is ranked at 9th position in all states.
- There can’t be a better indicator to show what the current SAD-BJP government has done to Punjab by simply comparing the Per- capita Income of Punjab with other states:
Source: Data compiled from Reserve Bank of India and Ministry of Statistics & Progamme Implementation
- During earlier Congress rule in 2002-07, whereas Punjab’s per Capital Income was growing at almost reasonable rate of 7.30%, it came down to 4% during SAD-BJP rule.
Source: Data compiled from Reserve Bank of India and Ministry of Statistics & Progamme Implementation
- During the SAD-BJP rule the economy has been growing at one of the slowest growth rates amongst all states. During the 11th five year Plan (2007-2012) for India, Punjab was assigned the lowest growth target of all states (5.9 per cent per annum), while the target for Indian economy as a whole is 9 per cent per annum.
SAD-BJP has brought Punjab close to Bankruptcy
The current government’s tendency to spend aimlessly to gain cheap publicity and corruption has bankrupted the State. The total debt outstanding for Punjab is more than Rs.65,000 Crore. The comparison of Punjab’s debt as percentage of its GSDP with other states is given in following figure:
Source: Thirteenth Finance Commission, 2010-2015, Volume II: Annexes
- SAD-BJP has been wasting funds in Sangat Darshans while the funds could have been utilized for development and growth of Punjab.
- SAD-BJP Government has been paying salaries by fresh borrowings.
- Government has been financing almost 30% of its expenditure by selling government properties.
- SAD-BJP government has been praising itself for increase in revenues for the state. A simple comparison of average ratio of taxes collected as percentage of GSDP (or economy) shows that during previous Congress rule the average tax collected was more than 7.5% of GSDP, which came down to around average 6% during SAD-BJP rule.
- SAD-BJP government due to its lethargic attitude totally failed to utilize funds under various central schemes like MGNREGA, JNNURM etc. and returned the money to Government of India.
- The current government’s tendency to spend aimlessly to gain cheap publicity and corruption has bankrupted the State, with the result that Punjab government has lost the ability to undertake any meaningful project for long term growth of the state apart from small misdirected pittances to misguide the people of Punjab. SAD-BJP government in order to preserve the cash had to resort to massive delays in release of scholarships to students sent by central government.
SAD-BJP has left people ‘Powerless’
- During past five years Punjab only added 500 MW power capacities added through Guru Hargobind Thermal Plant, “Lehra Mohabbat- Phase II”, which again was the initiative of previous Congress Government in the state.
- Punjab government has signed “MOU” for various power plants in a non transparent manner with various private companies, which are in violation of existing Electricity Act, and good governance practices of price discovery through competition.
- None of these MOU has resulted in production of single unit of power as of now.
- While, Government has been busy in making castles in air, the industry and domestic consumers have been facing record power cuts even in post monsoon and winter months.
- Lack of additional generation capacity, and cut in power share of Punjab from the Bhakra Dam due to careless attitude of government has further worsened the Power situation.
- The comparison of power generation capacity added in Punjab with other states is given in following figure:
Source: Data compiled from Ministry of Power and Central Electricity Authority
- Under the poor rule of SAD-BJP Government, the power tariff in Punjab has increased tremendously making it unviable proposition for existence and hence forcing the industrial units to move out of the State. The increasing tariff is depicted in following figure.
Source: Data compiled from Planning Commission, Central Electricity Authority, PSERC
Poor focus on Infrastructure Development for the State
- SAD-BJP misrule is responsible for poor condition of the public infrastructure creation, operation and management across spectrum ranging from roads to public transport to health facilities.
- SAD-BJP Government engaged only in raising noises for high profile projects such as Mohali-Phagwara Expressway. Spent millions of public money on carrying studies without giving serious thought of implementation, with the result that no additional state highway has been developed or improved in Punjab during the last five years. SAD-BJP Government is only claiming all national highways being developed by UPA government in centre as its own initiatives.
- SAD-BJP combine doesn’t tire of blaming all ills of Punjab on UPA government at the Centre, but in most of the cases it has failed to utilize the generous central funding for various infrastructure and social projects. A case in point is State government failed to take benefit of flagship Central Government schemes such as Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
- In Punjab, only six projects were sanctioned under JNNURM compared to 71 and 78 projects approved for Gujarat and Maharashtra respectively. No projects were sanctioned under JNNURM for Amritsar and Ludhiana – mission cities under the scheme. The comparison of funds utilization by Punjab in comparison to other states, as given in the table below tells the story of SAD-BJP government’s apathy.
Source: Data compiled from JNNURM and Ministry of Urban Development
Above graph totally demolish SAD’s claim of partisan attitude of Centre government, as BJP ruled states of Gujarat and Uttrakhand have got adequate funds under the centre sponsored schemes.
Declining exports from Punjab under SAD-BJP Misrule
- Due to poor policy initiatives of Punjab Government, and lack of any coherent strategy, the Industry is migrating from Punjab. SAD-BJP government had very grandly announced the new Industrial Policy in 2009. However, even this policy also failed to enthuse Industrialists as the government facing bankruptcy of money, credibility, ideas and leadership failed to implement its own policy. The position of exports from Punjab, which is indicative of health of Industry in Punjab, is given below:
Source: Economic Survey 2010-11, Government of Punjab
Punjab wants freedom from Corrupt SAD-BJP Government
- The corruption is hallmark of SAD-BJP government. A few high profile corruption incidents during past five years are:
- Manipulation of Transport policy to the personal benefit of top leaders in SAD .
- Land grab in various cities by state level SAD and BJP leadership.
- The ruling clique, by misusing its clout has established a monopoly over the wholesale liquor business and mining, and is earning hundreds of crores in illegal profits.
- Signing of MOUs with various companies for Power project in a non-transparent manner without going for competitive bidding.
- The scam in Public Distribution Scheme (PDS), where intended beneficiaries were not given subsidized kerosene and wheat flour.
- The SAD-BJP government made Punjab Lokayukta ineffective by not providing it with sufficient staff, and when an inquiry was marked in Transport scam, to delay the investigations it transferred the Investigating Officer.
- There is complete lawlessness and anarchy in the State with mis-utilization of the law & order machinery to meet the partisan means of the Government
- The SAD-BJP government has suppressed the free media by using their monopolistic control over the cable media in the State
- 2. WAY FORWARD
For a Transparent and Responsible Government
Punjab is suffering from governance deficit. The level of corruption in Punjab is unprecedentedly high. Congress will ensure transparency and accountability in all spheres of the administration and work towards ushering systematic reforms to prevent corruption.
- The institution of Lokayukta will be strengthened with following specific actions
- A transparent system of appointments and transfers in Lokayukta would be established to ensure non-interference in ongoing investigations.
- All public officers to be under the purview of the State Lokpal Act
- Lokayukta to have the power to recommend punishment, removal or demotion of government officials after due enquiry.
- An effective system will be put in place to protect and defend the honest officials.
- All public officers including MLAs, Ministers and all public servants would declare their financial assets at the start of every financial year.
- A statutory Vigilance Commission under a new legislation will be established. Property of corrupt officials/ ministers will be confiscated and auctioned to fund social welfare activities.
- A new legislation to ensure transparency in public procurement with the objective of bringing all procurements of various departments under common regulation, restricting discretion, and efficient dissemination of information will be enacted. As part of procurement reform, all procurement notices and details of awarded contracts will be put up on the official website of the Government.
- Recruitment to all government posts would be made through a statutory transparent mechanism at regular intervals and the existing institutions, the Punjab Public Services Commission and the Subordinate Services Selection Board will be restructured in a manner that there is no interference, political or otherwise.
- All regular posts, lying vacant in administrative departments would be filled expeditiously in a transparent manner, and no ad-hoc /contractual recruitment would be allowed against regular post. The posts in government to be filled on contractual basis would be segregated and notified.
- An online mechanism for Grievance Redressal System at the Central Secretariat and all district headquarters with a dedicated team will be set up. A tracking system will ensure that all the grievances are addressed in a time bound manner.
- Congress party is committed to participative democracy. On matters of public importance, people of the State shall be allowed to voice their views and opinions through various means of communication.
- Project Management Unit (PMU) at the Chief Minister Office to fast track and ensure timely completion of the development projects in the State will be set up for five years.
- The Public Private Partnership (PPP) model for Highway, Power, Health and Education sector projects under the transparent policy regime will be adopted.
- Use of Information Technology (IT) in ensuring efficiency and transparency in government functioning will be encouraged.
- All villages in the state would be linked to common services centres through cluster scheme to ensure time bound delivery of identified services effecting day to day life of our citizens. Village cooperatives would be encouraged to establish common service centres for the benefit of local population.
- Implementation of the Right to Services Act will be fast tracked to increase accountability at all levels right up to Chief Minister level.
- For urban areas, wherever applicable, the system of local taxes such as House tax, Property tax etc. would be made based on self assessment and also online payment system will be implemented. This will increase efficiency, effectiveness and transparency in the system and reduce corruption.
- Steps to correct and computerize all land records as well as provide online access to them will be taken.
- Fiscal Responsibility Act will be enacted so that government spends its revenues judiciously and doesn’t borrow beyond its means.
- Rural Development Fund will be utilized for its intended purposes in rural areas such as rural roads, drinking water and sanitation, warehouses for agriculture produce etc and not diverted to ad-hoc unauthorized purposes like Sangat Darshans of SAD-BJP Government. Rural Development Fund will also be leveraged for getting additional central funds for rural development under various Central Sponsored Schemes.
Ensuring Safety and Security of Citizens
The people have lost confidence in the ability of the Government to protect their lives and property. The law & order machinery is being blatantly misused to further the interests of the ruling party and its cohorts with complete denial of access to justice to a majority of populace, scheduled castes, women and weaker sections of the society. The Congress will put an immediate stop to this lawlessness and anarchy.
The Congress will completely overhaul law and order machinery and firmly establish the rule of law in the State. The Congress will create an environment that is free from fear and that will secure the safety and property of the people.
- Police reforms will be brought to transform the police from a repressive force to a modern, responsive and a force oriented to service of public.
- Antiquated Police Rules will be updated to bring them in line with modern and present day police functioning.
- Police force will be modernized equipping them to record, track and monitor criminal activities in a coordinated manner through a smart network.
- All crimes against the citizens will be registered and prompt action would be ensured.
- Functioning of all Police Stations will be strengthened by providing legal and forensic science expert to strengthen investigation inputs
- All the vacant posts in the Punjab Police will be filled up to ensure that the department is running efficiently.
- One Cyber Police Station per Police Zone will be setup dedicated to preventing cyber crime.
- Online system for filing complaints with police with quick reaction time would be strengthened. Status of the complaints would be updated on a real time basis.
- State Traffic Control Authority will be set up with the express objective of reducing the loss of life due to road accidents.
- Commission to investigate 50,000 false and vindictive criminal cases against innocent Punjabis will be setup. All false cases will be withdrawn and responsibility will be fixed in each case.
- The current feudal and retrograde step of putting each Police Thana under the Local MLA will be done away with. The police administration will be restructured to bring in greater accountability right from field formation upward to the Police Headquarters.
For Marginalized and Weaker sections of our Society
Marginal sections such as scheduled castes, backward classes, economically weaker sections are vital members of our society and Congress is committed to their advancement. Congress will improve the existing welfare measures and also introduce new schemes for the welfare of all marginal sections of the society. Also, Congress will ensure effective implementation of all welfare measures so that these measures do not just remain paper promises.
- Dedicated helpline for grievances of poor and weaker sections of the society will be setup.
- In order to unleash the entrepreneurial capabilities of the scheduled castes, equity and loan support will be provided to members of the scheduled castes at concessional rates. Punjab Scheduled Caste Land Development & Finance Corporation, a state company lying dormant now, will be revitalized with the equity infusion of Rs.100 crore in first year, and thereafter on need basis.
- In order to encourage setting up of small and medium levels enterprises by members of scheduled castes, a dedicated Rs.100 Crore venture capital fund will be setup, which will provide equity support to these enterprises.
- In order to support entrepreneurs belonging to scheduled castes, a procurement policy will be implemented that reserves 20 per cent of the purchases by state government, departments, corporations and public sector undertakings from the micro and small enterprises run by entrepreneurs belonging to the Scheduled Castes.
- The backlog of vacancies in various government departments against SC and BC posts will be filled expeditiously.
- Senior citizens’ basic pension will be increased to Rs.400/month, Widow’s basic pension to Rs.500/month and Blind and Handicapped basic pension to Rs.600/month.
- Allowance of Rs.1000/- per month to all children who have lost both their parents up to the age of 18 years will be provided.
- Marriage gift amount given to the grandchildren of freedom fighters will be raised to Rs.51,000/- and pension of freedom fighters to Rs.6000/- per month.
- MGNREGA scheme of Centre Government will be implemented whole heartedly in a transparent manner, with focus on giving employment and additional income to rural women folk of Punjab.
- 100% rollout of the Unique Identification (UID) scheme will be ensured and assuring time bound and delivery of all the entitled benefits for the poor by converging the Central and State sponsored schemes to maximize benefits.
- All the marginal farmers and under-privileged sections of the society will be brought under health insurance cover. Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana of the Central Government will be implemented in full spirit to ensure that all BPL families are under health insurance cover.
- Life insurance cover for all urban and rural poor will be introduced.
- All the welfare schemes such as Atta Dal and Pension schemes will be targeted to benefit the intended users of the schemes.
- Access to potable drinking water and safe toilets to all rural households will be ensured.
- Centrally sponsored schemes for LIG flats for BPL families such as Indira Awaas Yojna and Rajiv Gandhi Awaas Yojna will be implemented.
For the Betterment of our Womenfolk
Women are the foundation of our society. Congress is committed to development of women rights in Punjab. Congress would eradicate female foeticide and infanticide as well as provide equal education opportunities to the girl child.
- The girl child will be protected from foeticide and infanticide and monetary incentives will be given to poor families with girl child. The amount will be deposited with LIC/ Insurance Companies in the following phases, and girl child will get annual scholarship and a lump sum amount on attaining age of 18
- Payment of Rs. 15000/- on the birth of girl child.
- Payment of Rs. 5000/- on admission of the child in Class I.
- Payment of Rs. 5000/- on admission of the child in Class VI.
- Payment of Rs. 5000/- on admission of the child in Class IX.
- Payment of Rs. 5000/- on admission of the child in Class XII.
- Shagun amount will be increased to Rs.31,000/- from existing Rs.15,000/- for marriage of girls belonging to poor families
- A special drive will be launched to ensure 100% enrolment of girl child in primary schools. Focus will be on the seven districts where female literacy levels are below 50%.
- Central Government scheme of Janani Suraksha Yojana to promote safe motherhood and safe birth-outcomes will be implemented. Further, under the Mata Kaushalya Kalyan Scheme to promote institutional deliveries, the cash incentive would be increased to Rs 1500 from the existing amount of Rs 1000.
For Protecting the Rights of Our Minority Communities
Congress is committed to protecting the rights and respects the separate identity of our minority communities. It will ensure that they are not marginalized or discriminated against.
- The Punjab State Commission for Minorities Act, 2011 will be implemented effectively to address the grievances of Muslims and Christians efficiently.
- All the development schemes implemented by the Government would be extended to the religious minority communities.
For Benefit of our Ex-servicemen
Ex-servicemen are pride of Punjab. However, they have not received their due after retirement or leaving the services of the armed forces. An important step in this direction has already been taken with the Rajya Sabha Committee on Petitions having recommended one rank one pension scheme. Congress is committed that the rights of ex-servicemen are protected.
- Will pursue with the Central Government to 100% implementation of One Rank One Pension scheme which will benefit 8 lakh ex-servicemen of Punjab.
- Pursue and engage the Central Government to extend the benefits such as Ex-servicemen Contributory Health Scheme (ECHS), gratuity etc. to the non pensioners.
- Ex servicemen would be exempted from paying toll-tax on the State highways to be constructed on Public Private Partnerships basis.
- Every effort shall be made to remove anomalies of 6th Pay Commission for Defence Personnel.
- VAT on all CSD items will be exempted.
- Financial grant for the marriage of the daughters of Ex Servicemen widows will be enhanced.
- Funds will be released for creation of Ex Servicemen institutes alongwith Zila Sainik Welfare Centres.
- All Ex Servicemen affairs will be directly under CM.
- All Ex Servicemen and Defence Personnel will be attended to on priority by all State Govt officials.
- Ex Servicemen will be incorporated in Youth, sports, anti-drug programmes and skill development centres.
- All cases of widow pensions, disability pension will be regularised and revised.
- Special drive will be made to ensure that widows and old pensioners receive their full entitlements.
- Skills of Ex Servicemen will be utilised for environment protection, disaster relief and trauma response teams especially along National/ State Highways.
- Shall Ensure that all vacancies reserved for Ex Servicemen are fully utilised.
Educating our Children – for a better future
Though over the years, Punjab has taken considerable steps in setting up of school infrastructure and recruitment of school teachers, but still on parameters of quality of output of government schools, the results are dismal. The space of government schools is increasingly being taken by mushrooming private schools even in rural areas, which are nothing but commercial establishments without any concern for overall development of the students.
Congress fully recognizes the challenges facing the school education in the state and strongly believes that in fast growing and globalised economy of India, if Punjabi youth has to achieve success then they have to have a strong foundation of school education.
- Change the paradigm of school education, and instead of hands-off approach will set up “QUALITY” based benchmarks for school education.
- Three state of the art senior secondary schools with highly qualified teachers and modern infrastructure for every block will be developed.
- “Right to Education Act” passed by Parliament of India would be implemented whole heartedly in both words and spirit. Following specific features of “Right to Education” act will be implemented
- 25% reservation in private schools for students belonging to SC/ST/OBC.
- Teacher-taught student ratio of 1:30 at each of these schools.
- Separate toilets for girls in all schools.
- Computer Education Programme will be fully and effectively implemented and qualified teachers would be provided in all schools and colleges of the state.
- Punjab’s government school students face the handicap of inadequacy of English language skills when they face the outside world. Extra efforts will be taken to make the students proficient in English and Mathematics if required with the help of Private education providers.
- All the vacant positions of teachers in rural and semi urban areas will be filled up on priority basis. In order to encourage teachers in rural schools, special allowance for rural areas will be given.
- Teachers Training Institutes to increase the teachers’ skills with specific focus on English and Mathematics will be set up.
- High performing teachers will be sponsored to attend national/ international conferences and trainings so that they acquire learning from other education systems.
- In addition to ongoing schemes, a budgetary provision of Rs.100 crore per year will be made to provide merit cum means scholarships to all students, so that substantial numbers of meritorious students are able to pursue higher education.
- Budget for school education will be increased progressively, and apart from the provision for adequate number of teachers in schools, special emphasis will be given on development, operations and maintenance of school infrastructure. For development of school infrastructure, public private partnerships will be explored, A special fund of Rs.500 crore will be set up to improve the schools infrastructure.
- Central government will be pursued to establish Central schools at all block headquarters on the patterns of Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas.
- The cost of Aakash Tablets (Rs. 1500) will be subsidized by 50% for all 11th and 12th class students who wish to buy them, costing Rs. 750 to each student.
- An institution to create online and web based school education content in Punjabi will be set up.
- All state universities and colleges will be given adequate financial assistance to enable them to continue their research activities.
Channelizing the Youth Power of the State
Congress believes that the youth of the State are the key to growth and development of Punjab. It is critical to productively engage the youth and harness their energy to build a prosperous Punjab. Congress will focus not only on providing job oriented education to youths but also ensuring that they get jobs within Punjab.
- Employment opportunities for 10 lakh unemployed youth of the State would be facilitated over the next 5 years through training and skill enhancement linked with assured employment within Punjab.
- A full-fledged and independent Department of Employment will be created to focus on employment creation and synergize activities of various departments in this direction.
- Existing Industrial Training Institute (ITIs) will be upgraded and one additional ITI in each district will be set up under the Kaushal Vikas Yojna.
- 100 Skill Development Centres (SDC) would be set up in the state with the help of National Skill Development Fund and National Skill Development Corporation. Apart from conventional skills like carpentry, plumbing etc, courses on marketing, logistics, agro-storage, warehousing, preservation and fumigation, food processing and handling will also be taught in these SDCs.
- Free training to youth for enrolment in Defence, Police and Security services will be provided.
- Employment agents will be regulated for overseas employment ensuring that no innocent youth is exploited by unscrupulous employment agents.
Ensuring a Healthy Punjab
The people of Punjab have lost faith in the government health machinery due to inadequate facilities and non availability of medicines at the hospitals. Widespread drug addiction among the youth and cancer are emerging as a major threat across strata of the society. The Congress Party is committed to providing all citizens of the State better and affordable healthcare facilities.
- Congress will set up specialized cancer hospitals to tackle emerging threat to the society and cancer treating drugs will be provided to the patients at subsidized rates.
- Three new modern tertiary care hospitals to provide world class medical care will be setup.
- Five new Medical colleges will be setup in order to meet shortfall of qualified doctors and hospitals. The commitment of setting up of a medical college in Malerkotla will be fulfilled.
- Integrated Health services from Primary Health Centre to District Hospitals and Referral Hospitals will be provided to all citizens, with online tracking of patient’s medical history and records.
- As part of Integrated Health system , new Diagnostic centres will be setup.
- All the Primary Health Centres in rural areas of the Punjab will have full time doctor(s) and nurse(s). Any absenteeism of doctors and nurses will be strictly monitored. A 24×7 helpline will be started.
- All medical institutions (Dispensaries, Primary Health Centres, & Hospitals) will be upgraded and modernized with adequate infrastructure and latest equipment. A Fund of Rs 1000 crores would be provided for this purpose. New dispensaries wherever required will be setup.
- Functioning of the Health Department will be streamlined. Funds would be obtained under the centrally sponsored schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Surakha Yojana (PMSSY), National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) etc.
Tackling the menace of Drug Addiction
Punjab is facing an epidemic of drug addiction with major proportion of our youth suffering from this menace. Congress will take a strong action against the offenders and is committed to provide another chance to the affected youth so that they can lead a normal life again.
- The shops like drug de-addiction centres without any scientific methods have mushroomed all over Punjab who fleece helpless youth and parents for want of alternative facilities. At least 3 Modern Drug Rehabilitation Centres of international standards will be set up.
- Special anti drug trafficking unit within the Police will be set up which will work towards eradicating organized drug mafia in Punjab.
For our Farmers – towards a prosperous Punjab
Punjab’s agriculture is synonymous with providing food security to the country. This has demanded a lion’s share of natural resources and single-minded focus which has overshadowed the value of all other agriculture production. However, Punjab farmer is paying a heavy price for this by way of depleting water resources, poor soil quality, high level of chemicals in the soil leading to diseases like cancer in Punjab. Congress Party will strive to usher in a new revolution in the Agriculture sector, by diversifying the crop pattern, promotion of organic methods, more sustainable water use, and move towards value added crops linked with Agri-Industries. Congress is committed to development of the farming sector and will invest heavily in institutions and technology that are required to boost the sector.
- Horticulture farming techniques, methods of conservation of flowers etc would be promoted and taught to farmers at no extra cost to them. It will be ensured that entire horticulture produce is processed in agro-processing units.
- The functioning of Horticulture Department will be directly monitored by a committee headed by the Chief Minister.
- Special nurseries for processing varieties of orange plants will be set up and free saplings to all small and marginal farmers with land holding less than 4 acres will be provided.
- 100% subsidy will be provided for drip irrigation equipment to farmers with land holding below 4 acres.
- Three Agro Processing SEZ focusing on export of flowers, fruits and vegetables on Public Private Partnership will be developed.
- Central government will be pursued for marketing of high value crops like potatoes more efficiently, so that farmers get adequate returns on their toil.
- One state-of-art Agriculture Technology Information Centre (ATIC) in each district of Punjab to help farmers develop horticulture crops will be setup.
- Cold stores, warehouses and silos will be setup to prevent the crop wastage.
- Milk production in Punjab will be doubled over the next five years through scientific and professional development of the dairy industry.
- An International Dairy Research Institute will be set up focusing on developing high yielding milch cattle breeds similar to Holland.
- Five new Dairy Training & Extension Centres will be set up across the state. These centres would train our farmers for better dairy management systems.
- Fully equipped and manned veterinary polyclinic would be set up in each district of the state to ensure that our livestock is not affected by any outbreak of diseases and all diseases are treated locally.
- Subsidy to small and medium dairy farmers to set up bio-gas plants at their farms will be increased from present 33% to 50%.
- A special revolving fund of Rs.100 Crore per annum committed to diversification in agriculture will be setup and Rs.100 Crore per annum will be provided to Punjab Agriculture University.
- Early introduction of high quality and tested variety of seeds will be facilitated and hindrance in implementation would be removed.
- Subsidy on seeds of vegetables will be provided.
- 100% crop insurance for all farmers will be ensured by implementing the Centrally Sponsored Scheme of National Agriculture Insurance Scheme, 2011 to protect the farmers against the crop losses suffered due to natural calamities, such as drought, flood, hailstorm, cyclone etc.
- Expeditiously pay the arrears of pending relief payment for 2009 drought, for which grant of Rs.800 crore was received from the centre government, but SAD-BJP failed to make the payment to farmers.
- Full and adequate compensation for land owners in line with the proposed National Land Acquisition Act will be ensured. Interests of the non-land owners in the villages shall also be protected.
- Water charges will not be levied in case water does not reach a village or a farmer.
- Regular repairs of all water channels, right up to the tail end, measuring 2700 Kms in Punjab would be ensured.
Focus on Industrial Growth
Punjab has been known for its Textile, Sports goods, Machine Tools and Auto component industry. Due to its hinterland location and scarcity of Land, Punjab faces some natural challenges, but with the right mix of policies coupled with legendary Punjabi entrepreneurship and skilled manpower can make Punjab a pioneer in manufacture of specialized and high value products as well as agri based industries. Congress will focus on providing right business and policy environment, world class infrastructure and skilled manpower for growth of Industry in Punjab.
Congress believes in continuity of government and all agreements signed by the previous government for industrial units will be honoured.
- Punjab will be proactively branded as an Investment destination for large MNCs and domestic companies.
- An effective single window clearance system in Punjab as a major Governance and Industry initiative will be implemented. Empowered committee would be setup consisting of secretaries in charge of different departments to provide the facility of single window clearance. This will ensure that entrepreneurs do not need to visit different Government officers to obtain the required clearances for setting up industrial units in the State.
- New authority for holistic industrial development of the Punjab would be formed through the following objectives
- Planned Industrial Infrastructure Development
- Balanced Regional Development
- Systematic Entrepreneur Facilitation
- Investors Information
- Ease of business: Single Window Clearance
- Function as Special planning authority
- In order to remove inspector raj, certification by chartered professionals will be introduced to streamline the process of certification which is convenient for businesspersons.
- Industrial clusters will be established with special focus on logistics and supply and distribution chains in the vicinity to reduce costs. At least one cluster related ITIs/ Vocational Centres in the vicinity would be established for easy availability of the talent pool.
- Initiatives would be taken to develop an Industrial corridor on the lines of Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor.
- Central Government would be pursued to extend the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor up to Ludhiana so that industries in the State are benefitted.
- Central Government’s Manufacturing Policy would be utilized and facilitate development of at least one National Manufacturing Investment Zone in Punjab.
- A mega petro-chemical complex would be developed at Bhatinda to take advantage of the petroleum refinery being developed by the HPCL.
- Incentives for foreign investors and NRIs to invest in the industrial sector of the State will be provided. 10% of plots would be reserved in nearly developed Industrial Estates and Growth Centres for NRIs and another 10% for Export Oriented Units (EOUs) having a minimum foreign equity of 33%.
- Suitable assistance in rehabilitation and revival of the industrial units which suffered due to special tax relief package extended by Centre Government to Himachal and J&K will be provided.
- Monopolies in all areas like Cable TV networks will be abolished and electronic media will be completely free in Punjab.
Providing a World class Infrastructure
There is a critical role of efficient Transport infrastructure development in achieving accelerated economic growth. Punjab being a hinterland state at a minimum distance of 1500 km from nearest sea port, logistics is critical for its economic growth. Integrated strategies for Transport infrastructure development programs supported by enabling business environment can unleash economic growth, create jobs, and help improve the quality of life. Congress Party would work towards unlocking the latent economic potential of Punjab through an integrated Transport infrastructure development program which would be instrumental in reducing logistics cost and speedy flow of goods and people for growth of farming, manufacturing and service sector.
- Entire length of 2166 km State Highways would be upgraded.
- Ludhiana will be connected to a full fledged airport serviced by all major national airlines and logistics hub for air cargo will be established.
- Comprehensive transport infrastructure development plan of Jalandhar, Ludhiana and Amritsar will be prepared.
- Three more Inland Container Depots, one each at Rajpura, Jalandhar and Amritsar will be developed.
- Full cooperation and participation will be provided and pro-active steps will be taken including funding the feasibility studies for Delhi-Chandigarh-Amritsar Bullet Train so that this project is implemented expeditiously.
- Central Government will be pursued to extend the dedicated freight corridor up to Amritsar to take advantage of the growth in international trade and industries across the State are benefitted.
- Indian Railways will be supported for developing the dedicated freight link from Ludhiana to Rewari which will link Punjab to the Delhi-Mumbai Dedicated Freight Corridor.
- Central funds under Bharat Nirman and Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) will be utilized effectively for rural roads.
- All rural roads would be widened from existing 10 feet to 18 feet meeting technical specifications that of PMGSY.
- Transport Policy for Private Bus Operations will be reviewed to give maximum benefit to public and stop loot by select private bus operators.
- All villages will be connected by bus – either public or private. Buses will ply on non-profitable routes also to ensure that not a single village is left without regular connectivity.
- Central Government will be pursued to open all border routes to Pakistan and Central Asia for trade and transit.
Energizing Punjab – assuring 24 x 7 power supply to all
Punjab is facing unprecedented power shortage. In past five year, only 500 MW generation capacity has been added. Even this project was initiated during the previous Congress government. In name of adding Power generation, the present Government in past five years gone on to sign the MOUs with various developers in a non- transparent manner. None of these projects has been implemented and power to be generated from these units is not committed to Punjab but open for sale to other states also.
Congress is committed to provide 24×7 power supply to all users. It will take the necessary action required to achieve this goal by adding capacity, restructuring and reforming existing power distribution companies and promoting renewable sources of energy. Further, Congress believes in continuity of Government function and in principle will not revise the agreements signed by previous governments. However, Congress will carry out review of the non-transparent agreements signed by the previous government in order to protect the interests of people of the State.
- Minimum of 12 hour supply to agriculture sector will be ensured and within 2 years, it will be raised to 24 hour power supply. Existing policy on power to agriculture sector will continue.
- 24 x 7 power supply to industrial and residential consumers in both urban and rural areas including Dhanis and outer village settlements will be ensured.
- Necessary investments would be made to ensure that the losses of the State Transmission Companies are reduced by 25% through restructuring of the companies and rationalizing tariff structure.
- Renewable and non conventional sources of energy would be promoted through innovative schemes. Solar cells would be promoted in rural households through loan assistance from Rural Cooperative banks for solar cells.
Urban Development – Harnessing the growth of Cities
Urbanization is an inevitable phenomenon. Punjab is seeing a high urban growth with urban population consisting of 37.49 % of total population, growing at 2.5 % per annum. Punjab will be an urban state by the year 2022 with more than 50% of the population residing in towns and cities. Congress believes that for overall economic development of the state, it is essential that urban centres grow in a planned and integrated manner providing all advanced amenities to ALL its residents.
- There is an urgent need to rationalize and maximize utilization of the scarce land resources of the State. Floor Area Ratio (FAR) and Height restrictions would be reviewed thoroughly to enable construction of higher buildings. This will protect fertile agriculture land from getting converted into urban use.
- Land use conversion charges would be reviewed and rationalized to ensure proper development and safeguard the interest of the farmers.
- All regularized colonies will be provided with basic services and Municipal Corporations limits will be extended to cover the colonies where ever necessary.
- A strong Regulator will be set up to regulate the real estate development in the State and protect interests of the consumer by ensuring quality and timely delivery of projects.
- Congress had initiated formation of Punjab Municipal Infrastructure Development Corporation (PMIDC) for raising funds for urban development projects across the State. It was made defunct by the present government. PMIDC would be revitalized for overall development of urban infrastructure.
- Funds available under the JNNURM would be utilized effectively. There is a still a large block of more than INR 40,000 crore corpus available with the Centre that can still be utilized under the scheme.
- Continuous drinking water supply would be started in Corporation cities – Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala, Bathinda and Mohali. These schemes will be later extended to other cities such as Moga, Phagwara, Pathankot etc.
- Holistic development of all urban areas in the State, not limited to big corporation towns only, will be planned. Integrated Urban Development Plans for all urban centres with more than one lakh population will be prepared and put into effect to improve the quality of life and bring it at par with the big towns.
- Every effort shall be made to make Punjab “slum free” by 2017 with rehabilitation of all the slums and provision of urban services through funding from Central Sponsored Schemes such as National Slum Development Programme and Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme.
- Ring Roads and Bypasses in all major cities will be developed to ease traffic congestions and also reduce the interstate traffic passing through these cities.
- Multi-storeyed parking complexes and public toilets will be constructed in all Municipal Corporation cities of the State.
- Duty paid on transfer of properties among blood relations in urban areas will be abolished.
For Sportspersons – Playing for Our Pride
Sports are an intrinsic part of the Punjabi society. For holistic development of youth of Punjab, Congress will strive towards making Punjab the Number One State in Sports.
- A new Sports policy would be formulated to incentivize sports and make Punjab the leading state in the country in the sports arena.
- Punjab State Sports Authority would be setup on the pattern of National Sports Authority under chairmanship of Chief Minister to ensure focused development of sports infrastructure in the state, free from political and bureaucratic control.
- It is vital to identify and nurture sporting talent from an early age. Sports education in schools and colleges will be strengthened in order to identify this talent.
- Monthly stipend will be provided to at least 500 upcoming sportspersons to cover their costs of training needs and dietary requirements.
- Cash incentives currently given to the medal winning sportspersons will be doubled in Olympics.
|S. No.||Category||Current Reward||Promised Reward|
|Gold Medal Winner||2.25 crore||5 Crore|
|Silver Medal Winner||1.01 crore||2 Crore|
|Bronze Medal Winner||51 lakhs||1 Crore|
Cash incentives for respective other tournaments/ championships, both national and international, will also be doubled.
- Students securing rank positions in Interstate level competitions and State Level School Championships in any sports discipline will be supported through a scholarship of Rs 12,000 per annum till completion of Higher Secondary Education.
- Selected sportspersons would be sponsored to the National Institute of Sports at Patiala.
- Latest state-of-the-art sports facilities for sports such as Hockey, Football, Athletics, Shooting, Archery, Wrestling etc would be established to prepare Punjab players and athletes for International Competition.
- A corpus of Rs.50.00 Crore to provide support to local sport clubs for organizing various sport tournaments will be set up.
For Protecting the Rights of our Non Resident Indians (NRIs)
Punjab has a large population residing in other countries and Congress is committed to protect their rights. It will protect and safeguard the interests of the NRIs in Punjab.
- The Punjab State Commission for NRIs Act, 2011, will be effectively implemented.
- Full protection to property of NRIs will be provided and the Hon’ble Chief Justice of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana will be requested to set up special courts to resolve property disputes on priority.
Recognising the services of the Government Officials
- The government officials are a vital organ of the administrative machinery. Congress Party is committed to ameliorate their lot. The anomalies in the pay scales and allowances will be removed and rationalized. Appropriate measures will be taken to sharpen the skills of the government officials with a view to improve the work culture and to ensure an efficient and speedy delivery of services.
- Due care will be taken of the interests of the retired officials
Protecting the Environment – restoring ecological balance
Punjab is suffering for an ecological mess due to excessive use of pesticides and fertilizers on its farms. The situation has further aggravated due to water and land pollution from urban areas.
Congress is committed to protect and preserve the environment and adequately mitigating pollution through promoting clean energy and effective waste management policies.
- Forest &Tree Cover (F&TC) area would be increased over the next five years through dedicated tree plantation drives involving Government departments, schools and civil society organizations.
- Stringent Environmental Pollution Prevention Policy will be formulated to include regulation and ban of polythene use and promotion of eco friendly alternatives such as cloth and jute bags across the State within one year.
- Equipment and installation costs for solar power installed for dedicated residential use will be subsidized. Renewable energy would also be promoted with cash awards of up to Rs. 3 Lakh to the Village Panchayats for having 100% coverage of households through renewable sources of energy like solar and/or bio gas.
- Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) would be treated and disposed off in a scientific manner in all the Municipal Corporation cities – Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala, Bathinda and Mohali. The solid waste would be converted into bio compost/ manure that can be further utilized for horticulture purposes.
- Sewage Treatment Plant (STPs) would be set up in all the major cities like Amritsar, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Patiala, Bathinda and Mohali to prevent water pollution downstream.
- Water Harvesting will be made mandatory for all new constructions such as group housing, multi-storeyed residential and commercial buildings.
Harnessing the Knowledge Economy
IT and IT Enabled Services (ITES) have become the engine of growth of new India. Despite having large number of skilled graduates, Punjab has lagged in IT and ITES spheres. Punjab has a large urban population which is ideally suited for employment in these industries. Congress will ensure growth of the knowledge sector through development of the necessary infrastructure.
- Mohali will be developed as a Global City with world class infrastructure to make it the hub for IT and knowledge industry in Northern India.
- IT/ ITeS industry will be promoted in Patiala, Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Bathinda and Amritsar through infrastructure development in these cities.
- Rural BPOs will be promoted as they gainfully employ our educated youths in the rural areas. They don’t have to migrate to cities for employment.
- Preferential treatment for allotment of land to the IT industry in all industrial areas developed by State agencies will be given.
- Continuous and uninterrupted power supply for IT industries will be provided and they will be exempt from schedule power cuts.
- Setting up of IT Software units in urban areas will be permitted and shifting of existing industries to IT industry. No charges for Change of Land Use (CLU) would be levied for the IT industry/IT Parks.
- Home grown knowledge companies of the State will be promoted by setting up of business incubators at leading colleges and technology parks and by providing seed capital to entrepreneurs through state financial institutions.
- Start ups and companies having facilities in Punjab be given preference in procurement of IT services by Government of Punjab.
Focusing on Development of Kandi, Bet and Border Areas
Congress is committed to develop industries in Kandi, Bet and and Border districts. There will be a Special development package for these areas.
- Central Government will be pursued to recommence the compensation to the farmers whose land falls across the International Border fence at the rate of Rs.20,000 per acre per year.
- PSTC tubewells bills in Kandi area would be waived off and 75% subsidy will be provided on fencing with the barbed wire of their fields.
- Day time power supply for the fields across border fence will be ensured.
- Centre govt. will be pursued for concession to industrial units to be setup within 30 km belt from International Border on the lines of concessions extended to J&K, Uttrakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
- Special concessions will be provided to revive the sick industry in the Border and Kandi area and to promote setting up of new industry.
- 4. Our Appeal – Vote for Congress
Victory for the Congress in these elections will be a victory for all sections of our diverse society, a victory for each and every Punjabi who wants a better quality of life, a higher standard of living, who wants to walk with dignity, confidence and pride and who wants to support this endeavour of change, development and growth with fairness, transparency and justice.
The Congress makes a fervent appeal to the people of the Punjab:
- Give us a chance to usher in new era of growth.
- Give us a mandate for fulfilling your expectations and aspirations.
- Give us a verdict that will be victory for the forces of progress with harmony and defeat for the forces of bigotry and obscurantism.
- We will return to our roots to go forward to build the new future – a better and brighter tomorrow for all.
- We seek a mandate on the basis of our core values and ideology — secularism, social justice, and economic growth for all sections of society.
- We seek a mandate on the basis of our heritage, record of service and vision of the future.
- We reaffirm our unflinching commitment to the welfare of all our people, especially to the well-being of the weaker sections of our society.
We, Indian National Congress, appeal to all voters to vote for Congress party on strength of its Manifesto.