MCD elections: Congress releases first of 3-part manifesto, aims to woo urban poor

Congress released its first in a three-part manifesto for MCD elections, snowballing its plans for urban poor.

Reminiscent of ex-PM Indira Gandhi days, Congress on Monday played its socialist card by bringing out an MCD election manifesto for the 'urban poor.'

It is the first in a three-part manifesto, it said. A separate 'vision document' for urban infrastructure and youth will be released in the next two days.

Delhi State Congress president Ajay Maken, while releasing the manifesto, said a gigantic Rs 2,000 crore annual fund will be set up to improve slums and resettlement colonies. Also, a separate 'Delhi Urban Poverty Elimination Department' will be set up and granted Rs 5,200 crore.

For daily wagers/labourers, a 'swasth bima' (health insurance) and 'durghatna bima' (accident insurance) will be arranged. The government will also support them for three months when they are out of job. Five lakh street vendors will be given license and salaries will be fixed for housemaids, it claimed.

WHAT IS CONGRESS AIMING AT?

Senior Congress leaders and former UPA government ministers Salman Khursheed, Shashi Tharoor, and Jairam Ramesh have helped prepare the manifesto, Maken said.

Separate road maps for sanitation, primary health and education services rendered by corporations, besides a blue print for their financial self reliance, have been framed, he added. Ajay 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.

"No new taxes will be imposed, rather the existing house tax rates could be lowered by uprooting corruption and efficient collection of other taxes," said Ajay Maken. The party manifesto also talks on regularisation and development of unauthorised colonies.

The JJ clusters too will be developed through in-situ rehabilitation, replacing the shanties by housing complexes, the manifesto promises. Also, all temporary sanitation workers in three MCDs will be regularised in two years, it says. "We are not making hollow promises as BJP did yesterday in its manifesto. They ruled corporations for 10 years and failed even to pay timely salaries to sanitation workers and teachers of municipal schools, how do they plan to fulfil tall promises made by them," Maken said on Monday.

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