22-May-2024  Srinagar booked.net


INC Manifesto Vows J&K Statehood, Agnipath Abolition



New Delhi: The Indian National Congress manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls pledged the restoration of full statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and the abolition of the Agnipath military recruitment system on Friday at the AICC headquarters in New Delhi. 
In 2022, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government introduced a new military recruitment system called “Agnipath”, meaning “path of fire” in Hindi with a new military rank “magnifier” (fire-brave in Hindi), in which the army men (between the ages of 17-and-a-half and 21) will be recruited on a contractual basis for four years, including the training period and exit without any pension, health or education benefits with only a quarter retained for longer periods.
Previously, military men were recruited by the Army, navy and Air Force separately and entered service for up to 17 years for the lowest ranks. 
Led by Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge and attended by former party chiefs Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, the manifesto focuses on five ‘pillars of justice’ with 25 associated guarantees.
Among its pledges, the Congress vows to pass a constitutional amendment to raise the 50 per cent cap on reservations for SCs, STs, and OBCs if elected.
Additionally, the party promises to fill nearly 30 lakh sanctioned vacancies within the central government and implement a 10 per cent job quota in educational institutions for economically weaker sections (EWS) across all communities.
The manifesto also proposes adopting the Rajasthan model of cashless insurance for universal healthcare, ensuring coverage of up to Rs 25 lakh. 
Furthermore, the Congress intends to conduct a nationwide socio-economic and caste census and provide a new ‘right to apprenticeship act’ offering one-year apprenticeships to diploma holders or graduates under the age of 25.
In terms of agriculture, the Congress plans to enshrine Minimum Support Prices (MSP) into law, aligning with recommendations from the Swaminathan Commission.
The manifesto focused on a democratic government that surpasses religious, linguistic, and caste divides, calling for a fundamental change in governance style over the past decade.
Other proposals in the manifesto include launching an urban employment program to guarantee jobs for the urban poor in infrastructure renewal and reconstruction, and abolishing the Agnipath program while enabling the armed forces to achieve fully sanctioned strength through normal recruitment processes.