Kohima, April 2: Good news for North-eastern state; the Congress party if voted to power has promised to restore the Special Category Status to NE states.
The Congress manifesto released today by president, Rahul Gandhi affirmed that the North-eastern states are a unique and valued part of the country that bring into the union many diverse and rich culture, language, traditions and bio-diversity.
“We are committed to defending and protecting the interests of the NES and their people and to ensuring the rapid economic development of the region,” the manifesto says.
“Congress promises to restore the Special Category Status to the NES,” it said.
It was in 1998 the Union Government revoked the Special Category Status of Nagaland State unilaterally abrogating one of the clauses of 16 Point Agreement of 1960, which gave birth to Nagaland.
The Congress also promised an industrial policy for the Northeast, strengthen the North Eastern Council (NEC) and take steps to expand and reinforce the original mandate of the council and comprehensive review of the policies and special programmes in the region and make changes wherever necessary.
Further the Congress promised to substantially increase the budget outlays for infrastructure and social sector development, especially for railways, roads, communication, connectivity and tourism.
“We will provide sufficient funds to address the development gaps in education and healthcare,” the party promised.
“We will address the issue of illegal immigrants into the NES through consultation with the NES and evolve a consensus on the legislative measures that will secure the identity of the indigenous communities. We will also engage the neighbouring countries, Bangladesh and Myanmar, to address and resolve the issue of illegal immigrants into India,” the manifesto stated.
The party also promised to withdraw Citizenship Amendment Bill introduced by the BJP led NDA Government against the wishes of the people of the Northeast.
The Congress promised to strengthen the security of borders of the region and resolve the border issues through dialogue with neighbouring countries and make the borders, “borders of prosperity and growth” and resolve the pending inter-state issues, including boundary issues in the Northeast through dialogue or mediation.
“The importance of border trade to the economy of the NES cannot be overstated. Regular export and import trade will also create economic opportunities, including more jobs, in the NES. We promise to take bold and innovative measures to enhance trade in general and border trade in particular with neighbouring countries and other countries further to the east.”
Congress also promised to leverage the rich bio-diversity and natural resources of the region to generate livelihood opportunities in sustainable agriculture, horticulture and organic farming.
“Over the last 5 years of the BJP Government, India has suffered under the Modi Model, which has devastated our economy, impoverished our farmers, destroyed jobs, divided communities, stoked hatred and spread fear. It is a model that has stripped the average Indian dignity, voice and trust. This is not the model India deserves. This is a model that all Indians must reject,” Congress President Rahul Gandhi said. He said Congress model is in stark contrast to the BJP model and promised to provide transformation development, inclusive growth, responsive governance and reforms the strengthen the foundations of Indian republic.
“Congress promises to pass the Constitution (Amendment) Bill to provide for reservation of 33 percent of seats in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies in the first Session of the 17th Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha,” the manifesto further added. It also promised to amend the service rules to reserve for women 33 percent of appointments to posts in the central government.
“We will stipulate the every special economic zone shall have working women’s hostels and safe transport facilities to increase the participation of women in the labour force. The Equal Remuneration Act 1976 will be enforced wage rates to provide the men and women are paid the same wage for similar work”. It also assured to repeal any provision of law that prohibits right shifts for women.
The party promised to work with State Governments to implement a programme to provide single, widowed, divorced, abandoned or destitute women a dignified and secure life and to launch a programme to appoint an Adhikar, Maitri in all panchayats to serve as a paralegal to educate women on and assist them in the enforcement of, their legal rights. (Page News Service)