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Congress focusses on jobs as the key driver for economic growth- Mrit News

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Party’s priorities include urban employment guarantee, allowances for home-makers and students, law on domestic help

Party’s priorities include urban employment guarantee, allowances for home-makers and students, law on domestic help

An urban employment guarantee Act on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA); an allowance for home-makers; an education allowance for children completing school on a need-cum-merit basis; a complete fee waiver for applicants to government jobs; a law to regulate employment of domestic help; and free legal aid to working/self-employed women could be some of the Congress’ key election ideas going ahead, after the party argued for a reset of economic policies at its Udaipur Nav Sankalp chintar shivir earlier this month.

The Ashok Gehlot-led government in election-bound Rajasthan already announced an urban job scheme last week to guarantee 100 days of urban employment with a plan outlay of ₹800 crore.

The scheme is on the lines of a proposal mooted by the party’s panel on economics, headed by former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, that prepared the Nav Sankalp Economic Policies (NSEP) document to outline the party’s economic priorities at the Udaipur conclave.

The Congress as well as other Opposition parties have been trying to corner the Narendra Modi government on its handling of economic issues such as employment, inflation and privatisation.

The NSEP document notes that Labour Force Participation Rate (LFPR) has fallen to 40.38%, unemployment rate has risen to 7.83%, and jobless growth has become a legacy of the Modi government.

From promising to be future ready by adopting advanced technologies like robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence to meeting the expectations of the aspirational generation of start-ups, the grand old party has thoroughly debated its own articulation.

The Congress document reads: “A reset of economic policies must reiterate the advantages of an open market economy, support wealth creation, and accelerate growth driven by the private sector and a viable public sector. The corner-stone of the Nav Sankalp Economic Policy (NSEP) will be jobs.”

“The NSEP must recognize the key role of farmers and promise maximum freedom to them to grow, market and export their produce. The NSEP must also recognize that industry and services will be mainly driven by the private sector’s investment and risk-taking. The NSEP must unambiguously embrace the virtues of aspiration, innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship,” the resolution adds.

Explaining the emphasis on the Congress’s economic policies, Gourav Vallabh, who was a member of the panel that prepared the document for the Udaipur conclave, told The Hindu that the debate is about the economics of equity versus crony capitalism.

“The income levels of 97% of the Indian population is coming down. Whether you look at the Oxfam report or the CMIE (Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy), there is a growing disparity that we need to address,” he said.

The economic revival plan not only reaffirms the party’s commitment to minimum income support or NYAY ( nyuntam aai yojana) that the Congress had promised in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls but talks of expanded welfare measures to counter the impact of inflation and economic turbulence. These include an allowance for women home-makers who do unremunerated work for many hours of a day; higher financial support to anganwadis and to the mid-day meal scheme to combat malnutrition among children; social security and insurance to workers in the unorganised sector including the self-employed; and a separate law to regulate the work of domestic help and migrant workers.

“The Congress Party promises to return the Indian economy to the path of 8-9 per cent growth marked by ever-growing employment. The NSEP will aim to build a fair, just and equal economy and bring opportunity and prosperity to all sections of the people,” notes the document.


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