The BJP-led NDA released its manifesto for the February 20 Punjab polls on Saturday, promising a slew of sops for various sections, including 75 per cent reservation in all government jobs for youngsters from the state, an unemployment allowance, 35 per cent reservation for women in government jobs and massive infrastructure development.
The highlight of the manifesto is the promise of 75 per cent reservation in government jobs and 50 per cent reservation in private jobs for the youngsters of Punjab.
The BJP-JJP government in neighboring Haryana had earlier passed a law giving 75 per cent reservation in private sector jobs to youngsters domiciled in the state.
The BJP manifesto for the Punjab polls says a dope test will be mandatory before filing nominations for elections.
An unemployment allowance of Rs 4,000 per month will be given to all graduates for two years after the completion of their degrees, it says.
The manifesto promises 35 per cent reservation for women in all government jobs, including contractual ones.
It also says fast-track courts will be established to deal with any kind of violence, harassment and oppression against women.
A special law will be enacted to deal with the cases of brides abandoned by NRI grooms, the manifesto says.
The BJP is contesting the Punjab polls in an alliance with former chief minister Amarinder Singh’s Punjab Lok Congress and the Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa-led Shiromani Akali Dal (Sanyukt).
The “Sankalp” document of the saffron party was released in Jalandhar in the presence of Union ministers Hardeep Singh Puri and Som Parkash, BJP leaders Dushyant Gautam and Tarun Chugh and Amarinder Singh’s son Raninder Singh, among others.
The BJP-led alliance had previously released an 11-point “Sankalp” (pledge or commitment) document and another manifesto for the rural areas, which had promised a complete loan waiver for farmers with less than five acres of land-holding. In the manifesto released on Saturday, the key promises made in the earlier documents have been included.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Puri said it is not just a vision document, but it carries concrete commitments.
He also talked about the saffron party’s plan to revive Punjab’s economy with an infrastructure development fund of Rs 1 lakh crore, which will be spent over a period of five years.
The party promised “zero tolerance to sacrilege”, saying fast-track courts will be set up to decide such cases in a time-bound manner.
The manifesto is an elaborate and comprehensive document that spells out a roadmap for the revival of Punjab’s economy and addresses the issues of drugs and law and order, Puri said.
To check cross-border infiltration and smuggling of weapons and drugs, the party promised surveillance by drones and CCTV cameras and construction of electric fences and outposts.
A “Truth and Reconciliation Commission” will be constituted for addressing the grievances of the families affected by terrorism, who have been ignored by successive regimes for the last three decades, and a compensation of Rs 5 lakh will be given to each family, the party said.
A “lost but not forgotten” memorial will be set up in the memory of the victims of terrorism, it added.
The manifesto promises stringent laws to disrupt the drug-supply chain in the state and the setting up of a special Drug Prevention Task Force in each district.
It also says fast-track courts will be set up to expedite the investigation of drugs-related offenses.
The manifesto talks about a Rs 5,000 crore commitment for MSP and crop diversification.
It says special incentives will be provided for the revival of the medium, small and micro enterprises (MSMEs), including electricity at Rs 4 per unit to such units and at Rs 5 per unit to all other industries.
Free electricity up to 300 units will be provided to each and every household and the tariff after the consumption of 300 units will be Rs 3 per unit.
The party promised that the honorarium for anganwadi workers and accredited social health activists will be increased to Rs 10,000 per month and Rs 6,000 per month respectively.
It promised that all outstanding loans of the members of the Scheduled Caste (SC), Backward Classes (BC) communities and those falling in the Economically Weaker Section (EWS) category will be waived up to Rs 50,000.
Free hostel facilities will be provided to the SC students undergoing graduation and post-graduation courses. Funds will be provided from the state budget for the payment of the Post Matric Scholarship dues to SC students. A scholarship of Rs 2,000 per month will be given to all the meritorious students.
Two-wheeler loans with a 50 per cent subsidy will be given to all students of colleges and universities. The post-matric scholarship scheme will be extended to cover the general category students belonging to the economically weaker section.
Guru kripa canteens will be established across the state to provide nutritious meals for Rs 5, the BJP promised in its manifesto.
To improve efficiency in the police force, the party-led alliance promised to ensure fixed duty hours for all police personnel in the state.