Four days before the first round of polls in Bihar, Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) on Saturday released its manifesto. A complete farm loan waiver, 10 lakh government jobs, 22 per cent state budget for education and regularisation of several categories of adhoc employees are the highlights of the manifesto.
Releasing the manifesto, RJD leader and the chief ministerial face of the opposition alliance, Tejashwi Yadav, gave the rationale behind his 10 lakh government job promise. "I have been asked several times about how I will create these jobs. Firstly, there are 4.5 lakh vacancies in various government departments, from education to health to police — already earmarked but unfilled in the present regime. On top of that we have calculated that an additional 5.5 lakh jobs are required to bring Bihar's administration at par with the national average," Tejashwi said.
He gave the example of Manipur where against every one lakh population the state had employed 1,000 policemen. "In our state the number of policemen per lakh is 77. These are some of the corrections that we need to make, for which we will create an additional 5.5 lakh vacancies."
The funds for it will come from the state’s 2.13 lakh crore budget, of which only 60 per cent was spent, he claimed. "The remaining 40 per cent, which translated to somewhere close to 80,000 crore, will allow us to hire the 10 lakh government employees which is what we have promised will happen after our very first cabinet meeting," he said.
Tejashwi asked the BJP to explain its promise since its ally JD(U) felt that providing so many jobs was impractical. "The BJP should tell the people who their CM face is. If it is Nitish Kumar, he has already thrown up his hands in the air and said that providing so many jobs was impossible given the financial limitations of the state. Then how has BJP promised 19 lakh jobs in its manifesto? Their party should explain," Tejashwi said in his address to the media from his party headquarters in Patna.
In its manifesto, the RJD has promised that a total of 10 lakh jobs will be created "in a time bound manner" and its process will begin in the first cabinet meeting. The party has promised an employment exchange in every district, it has promised salaries under same pay same work principle, unemployment allowance of Rs 1,500 per month for those up to 35 years of age, setting up of a Bihar youth commission and has assimilated the promise made in JD(U)'s manifesto — of bringing water to every farm — in its manifesto.
The RJD has also promised Minimum Support Price of crops to the farmers which will be commensurate with their expenditure. It has also promised to bring in a new industrial policy for the state and announced appointment of government teachers at the earliest. The RJD has said that no fees will be charged when applying for government jobs.
Targeting women voters, the party has promised a one-time help of Rs 4,000 at the time of delivery and said the remuneration of Anganwadi workers will be doubled and a free computer centre will he made available at all panchayats.