The Indian National Congress released its manifesto six days before the Bharatiya Janata Party released ‘Sankalp Patra’. The ruling party promises ‘
The BJP wants to make India the third largest economy by 2030 and a $5 trillion economy by 2025. It also wants to make a capital investment of Rs.100 lakh crore in the infrastructure sector. Also, enhancing India’s rank in ‘Ease of Doing Business’, dispute resolution mechanism for MSMEs, and making procedural and technical defaults under Companies Act are few of the key reforms put forward.
The Congress has plans for an open and liberal economy. It wants to make RBI autonomous, scrap the Angel Tax for start-ups, make a new plan for MSMEs and increase the share of manufacturing to 25 percent. If elected, within three months, Congress wants to review foreign trade policy and all laws, rules and regulations governing investments in three months.
The BJP says it will continue the Goods and Services Tax to simplify the process with all stakeholders. The party has promised to “strive to ensure reduced tax rates, higher tax collection and greater compliance.”
The Congress has proposed a new version of GST based on a moderate and standard rate of tax on all goods and services that will include liquor, tobacco and petroleum products. It has also propose a direct taxes code.
The Congress has vowed to fill 4 lakh Central government and institutional vacancies before 2020. Also, urge all the State governments to fill up 20 lakh job vacancies. For low skill workers, it has promised to restore water bodies and wasteland regeneration mission to create one crore jobs. The Congress also wants to link MSME to employment and set up an enterprise support agency to provide support to start-ups and entrepreneurs.
The BJP wants to continue its ‘Make in India’ initiative and make India a global manufacturing destination through a new industrial policy with emerging technologies like AI.
With ‘Prime Minister Innovative Learning Program’, the BJP wants to foster a culture of innovation and lateral thinking among children. Secondary classrooms will be equipped and over 200 Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya schools will be established in the next five years. The number of admissions in Central Law, Engineering, Science and Management institutions will be up by 50% in the next five years. The BJP plans to establish to set-up Music University, Police University, Hospitality and Tourism University. A new regulatory system to grant autonomy to higher education will also be set up. It also has a plan of establishing one medical college in every district.
Congress has plans of changing school education to the States List. Education in public institutions till Class XII will be free of cost and compulsory. It wants to make vocational training as a compulsory component in secondary school education and public universities. If executed flawlessly, the 200-point roster system in Central Universities will increase the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in Higher Education to 40. It wants to propose a State-level examination instead of NEET for medical admission.
The BJP plans to set up 1,50,000 Health and Wellness Centres by 2022. Also, provide universal healthcare through its flagship Ayushman Bharat scheme. The party also wants to eliminate tuberculosis by 2022.
Congress has proposed to spend three per cent of GDP on healthcare by the year 2023-24. It has also promised free public hospitals-model to promote universal healthcare.
The Congress announced NYAY, a poverty alleviation scheme, which grants the poorest 20 per cent with Rs. 72,000 income per annum. For instance, if a family earns Rs. 6,000 per month, the government will transfer the remaining Rs.6,000 to the bank account of a woman.
The BJP wants to set up an Eklavya Model Residential School where more than half the population are Scheduled Tribes. 50,000 ‘Van Dhan Vikas Kendras’ will be established to give value addition to forest produce. Also, pucca houses for every family within 2022 to bring down poverty ration to single digit and higher interest rates on fixed deposits for inclusive development.
Both the BJP and Congress manifestos have clearly focused on topics that would appeal to most of their voters. India being a developing country, it is vital to form a foundation of the country in a smooth-functioning way. Only after the Indian General Elections, we will understand which of these moves the best.