Congress is seeking to shrug off party’s dismal performances in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand assembly elections. The party has released its manifesto and tried to woo voters by emphasizing on the need to improve the lives of urban poor. This is first of its three-part manifestos. Elections to 272 wards of north, east and south municipal corporations are crucial for the party as good results for it will send a message across India. Since BJP is the incumbent party, Congress will also look to send a strong message to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Amit Shah. The elections will be held on April 23. While NDMC and SMDC have 104 seats each, EDMC has 64 seats.
1. The Congress’ manifesto promised to set up an urban poverty alleviation department, cut down house tax, provide unemployment allowance and regularise sanitation workers.
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2. The party will also come out with separate manifesto for urban infrastructure and youth in next two days.
3. Delhi Congress chief Ajay Maken said if voted to power in the three municipal bodies, the party will also form a task force for delivery of services to the poor. The corporate houses will be encouraged to spend a share of their CSR fund on poverty alleviation, Maken said. No new taxes will be imposed, rather the existing house tax rates could be lowered by uprooting “corruption” and efficient collection of other taxes, he said.
4. Health and accidental insurance cover, unemployment allowance and other benefits will be provided to unorganised sector workers, including domestic helps, he said.
5. Five lakh street vendors will be identified, registered and provided with licences to save them from harassment and exploitation. Also, all temporary sanitation workers in three MCDs will be regularised in two years, the manifesto said.
6. The party manifesto also talks on regularisation and development of unauthorised colonies. “Congress-ruled MCD will earmark Rs 2,000 crore development fund for unauthorised colonies and sanction layout plans of such colonies to speed up their regularisation.” The JJ clusters too will be developed through in-situ rehabilitation, replacing the shanties by housing complexes, the manifesto promises.
7. Maken said the party manifesto was a well thought-out road map for municipal corporations and it extended solutions to various issues faced by people and the civic bodies.
8. Maken said the party is committed to make all the three corporations self-dependent in two years after coming to power through revenue generation from different areas including annual collections of Rs 500 crore from licence fees from vendors, Rs 1,600 crore from toll tax, utilisation of unused land and outdoor advertising.
9. The Congress has prepared separate road maps for sanitation, primary health and education services rendered by corporations, besides a blue print for their financial self reliance. The road maps for primary health and education outlined a complete overhaul of the existing systems in corporations.
10. The road maps were prepared by experts, including former UPA government ministers Salman Khursheed, Shashi Tharoor, and Jairam Ramesh.
(With the agency inputs)