Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Congress likely to focus on 'jobs' to take on Modi

Deepika S

New Delhi, Mar 22: The Congress' manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections will sharply focus on jobs, taking on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government over its alleged inability to create a sufficient number of jobs in its five-year term.

Congress has been attacking Narendra Modi government over lack of job creation, saying the three main issues in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls would be jobs, jobs and jobs.

The Congress also wants to commit itself to filling up government vacancies, which in its count "runs into millions of jobs", to offer secure employment and counter the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance's narrative that the unorganised sector and self-employment have experienced healthy job growth, according to the reports.

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The principal Opposition party may also offer a 33% women's quota in public sector jobs to reach out to women voters. Congress may also include the right to healthcare in its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

In our manifesto, we are considering a Right to Healthcare Act, where we guarantee certain minimum healthcare to all Indians, increasing our expenditure to about 3 per cent of GDP, and increasing the number of healthcare professionals," Rahul Gandhi had said during an interaction with health professionals in Raipur, Chhattisgarh.

The Congress party is also considering a revamped goods and services tax, or GST, in its manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The Congress party's GST version 2.0 would correct the major flaws of the current architecture of the tax by making it simpler, rectify the distortion in tax rates, provide for 'manual inputs', consult stakeholders and improve the technology network.

The party is putting the final touches on the manifesto that's expected to be unveiled later this month.

With barely a month ahead of the elections, the job situation is unlikely to improve in the country.

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The numbers of unemployment are worrying, the unemployment rate in India rose to 7.2% in February 2019, the highest since September 2016, and up from 5.9% in February 2018, according to data compiled by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).

The figures will be unwelcome news for Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of a general election, but the concerns about weak farm prices and low jobs growth are often brought up as election issues by opposition parties.

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