Congress promises jobs in UP

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Lucknow: The Congress Friday released its vision document for the Uttar Pradesh assembly elections, promising to create 20 lakh jobs in the state in the next five years, rationalise quota provisions for Other Backward Classes, bring a citizen’s charter for services at the grassroots level and check corruption.

Highlighting key aspects of the document, released at the party office here, union Law Minister Salman Khurshid said a Congress government in the state will ensure that land is acquired with consent of owners and those affected get livelihood security.

The 22-page document broadly offers social justice and security, right to education, healthcare and livelihood, besides comprehensive development. It was released from ten cities across the state.

The vision document is a reflection of the promise made by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi to transform the state in 10 years. Gandhi, who is party’s lead campaigner in the state, had said in his election rallies that Congress will bring Uttar Pradesh among frontline states of the country in ten years.

“The Congress takes a pledge to restore UP (Uttar Pradesh) to its rightful place in the country; a UP that once again shows the entire country the way,” says the opening line of the document.

Even as the title talks about “Vision for 2020”, Khurshid sought to impress upon all that the party was all set to ride on to power in the state where it last ruled about 23 years ago.

“We will create 20 lakh new jobs over a period of the next five years and that would be our first step towards tackling the issue of distress migration,” he said.

Asked how he proposed to fulfil this, he shot back: “We are not talking off our hat. We propose to set up 1,000 skill development centres, besides revamping the polytechnics and ITIs spread across the state, so that we can equip a large number of youth with training that will bring jobs to their doorstep.”

He was hopeful of also generating large scale self-employment.

The Vision Document also has in store a Rs.3,000 crore package for handloom weavers.

“Our plan is to set up as State Handloom Mission to bring in modern technology and to ensure forward and backward market linkages to enhance the income of weavers,” Khurshid said.

“Among the other necessary facilities that would be ensured was availability of subsidized and uninterrupted power supply to the weavers,” he added.

“We also wish to rationalise the reservation policy to make it more broad-based and to ensure that the benefits of reservation trickle down to the lowest in the social rung,” he said.

The volatile issue of acquisition of agricultural land for industrialisation and urbanisation has also been handled vary carefully in the document, which makes it a point to clarify that “the new land acquisition policy will ensure judicious compensation to farmers”.

“Nobody’s land will be taken by force and the compensation would be such that the land owner’s livelihood does not get affected,” asserted Khurshid.

Embarking on the all important issue of rampant corruption, he said: “As a part of our effort to introduce complete transparency in the working of the government, we are planning to put up a citizen’s charter in all government offices whereby a time frame will be prescribed for delivery of all public services.”

“Strict action will be taken against those found guilty of corrupt practices.”

Khurshid said Uttar Pradesh was dependent on farming and the document pays special attention to farmers. He said land acquisition should take place by consent of land owners and land should not go to “those who are already powerful.”

The document also lays out special development plans for Bundelkhand in a bid to blunt Mayawati’s attempt to woo voters through proposal of carving four separate states out of Uttar Pradesh.

The party leaders who released the document across the state included union ministers Kapil Sibal and Sriprakash Jaiswal and Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit.