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Comparing manifestos, 2004, 2009, 2014 and 2019: Some promises that Congress made for decades but never fulfilled

The 2019 Congress party manifesto indicates that they seem to have a history of repeating their old promises in their subsequent election manifesto.

Ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha, the Congress party on Tuesday has revealed their election manifesto titled “Congress Will Deliver” to fight the incumbent NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The Congress party has made various obscure policies including foolhardy NYAY scheme which according to economists will not only put pressure on the country’s fiscal policies but also wreck the Indian economy. Interestingly, Congress party has been trying to depict the promises made in its manifesto as a new set of policy ideas. However, the Congress party has attempted to fool the voters by repeatedly asserting that they have fulfilled all of their their past promises. However, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Here are the promises that have been promised by the Congress party since one decade in their election manifesto:

Women’s Reservation Bill:

2009: The Indian National Congress will ensure that the Bill for reserving 33% of the seats in the Lok Sabha and the State legislatures is passed in the 15th Lok Sabha and
that the elections to the 16th Lok Sabha are held on the basis of one-third
reservation for women.

2014: We will ensure the passage of the Women’s Reservation Bill.

2019: Congress promises to pass the Constitution (Amendment) Bill to provide for reservation of 33 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha.

Health:

2004: In 2004, the Congress had promised to provide health insurance for families living below the poverty line.

2009: We will guarantee health security for all: The Indian National Congress pledges that every family living below the poverty line will be covered by the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana over the next three years

2014: Right to Health: The Indian National Congress will increase health expenditure to 3% of GDP and provide universal and quality health care for all Indians.

2019: Congress promises that the total government expenditure on healthcare will be doubled to 3 per cent of GDP by the year 2023-24. Congress promises to enact the Right to Healthcare Act that will guarantee to every citizen the right to healthcare services, including free diagnostics, out-patient care, medicines and
hospitalisation through a network of public hospitals and enlisted private hospitals.

Rural development and Panchayat Raj:

2009: The Congress party had promised to connect every village to a broadband network within three years.

2014: We will ensure that all our towns and Gram Panchayats are connected with high-speed broadband connectivity within 18 months.

2019:  Congress promises to connect all villages and habitations with a population of 250 with a road under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. Broadband connectivity will be provided to all village Panchayats by the year 2021.

Goods and Service Tax:

2009: The Indian National Congress now pledges to take the next decisive step and introduce a moderate goods and services tax (GST). Once GST is implemented, all other central and state-level indirect taxes such as VAT, excise duty, service tax, entertainment tax, luxury tax, etc. will stand abolished and bring substantial relief to the aam aadmi.

2014: Introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Bills in Parliament and ensure they are enacted within 1 year. GST is likely to increase the aggregate revenue which will be used to fund the extra investment in infrastructure, health and education.

2019: Congress promises to review and replace the current GST laws with the GST 2.0 regime that will truly reflect the intent and purpose of a non-cascading, value-added, indirect tax. The GST 2.0 regime will be based on a single, moderate, standard rate of tax on all goods and services.

Power:

2004: Congress will launch a special programme to ensure each household will have access to reliable power in the next three to five years.

2009: The Congress party had started and achieved considerable progress on the ambitious Bharat Nirman programme to transform rural India by expanding and providing irrigation, all-weather roads, houses for the poor, drinking water, electricity for all poor families and phone connectivity in all villages.

2014: We will work to ensure greater access to electricity; 100% access in urban from current 94% and 90% access in rural areas from current 67.3% under the Raj Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana (RGGVY).

2019: Congress promises to enhance availability of, and access to, electricity in rural areas by encouraging investment in off-grid renewable power generation with ownership and revenues vesting in local bodies.

National Security:

2004: The UPA Government will ensure that all delays in the modernisation of the armed forces are eliminated and that all funds earmarked for modernisation are spent fully at the earliest.

2009: In the last five years, modernisation of our defence forces has resumed substantially. This will continue at a rapid pace. The Indian National Congress also pledges to make India’s defence forces technology-enabled and equipped with modern weapons, aircraft, ships and delivery systems to repel any threat from land, sea or air.

2014: The Indian National Congress believes modernisation of our defence forces is imperative. The Indian National Congress shall ensure that the process of procuring the finest, and most state-of-the-art equipment is carried out efficiently and transparently while ensuring rapid development of our domestic defence industry.

2019: Congress will reverse the trend of declining defence spending under the NDA government, and will ensure that defence spending is increased to meet the requirements of the Armed Forces. We will expedite all modernisation programmes of the armed forces in a transparent manner.

Interestingly, there are few other promises which are made by the Congress party for over 10 years have been fulfilled by the present Narendra Modi led NDA government. This includes Direct Income to farmers, providing electricity to each household, bank accounts through Jan Dan Yojana, One Rank One Pension, Goods and Service Tax, High Growth with Low Inflation, Health Security through Ayushman Bharat, Reservations to Economically Weaker Sections.

The NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has successfully implemented most of the above commitments that had been promised by the UPA government from 2004 to 2014. There are few other reforms and promises which have been initiated by the present government like GST and defence modernisation as these reformative projects have long gestation periods.

The 2019 Congress party manifesto indicates that they seem to have a history of repeating their old promises in their subsequent election manifesto. The Congress party which has failed in delivering governance since 2004 has once again come out with their stale promises without any remorse that they failed to deliver the same promises despite being power for over a decade.

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