Raipur | The Congress on Sunday released its manifesto for the Chhattisgarh assembly polls, promising caste census, loan waiver to farmers, Rs 3,200 for per quintal for paddy procurement and subsidised cooking gas cylinders to women under a new scheme.
The ruling party in Chhattisgarh unveiled its manifesto titled 'Bharose ka Ghoshna Patra 2023-28' at six different places - Raipur, Rajnandgaon, Jagdalpur, Bilaspur, Ambikapur and Kawardha - two days before the first phase of the state polls.
Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel released the manifesto in Rajnandgaon while party's state in-charge Kumari Selja and Deputy Chief Minister TS Singh Deo unveiled it in state capital Raipur and Ambikapur, respectively.
Promises including loan waiver to farmers, caste census, procurement of paddy at 20 quintal per acre, free education to students from KG (kindergarten) to PG (post graduation) made by Congress leaders during their poll campaign have been mentioned in the manifesto.
Speaking at the launch of the manifesto, CM Baghel said farmers will get Rs 3,200 per quintal for paddy, including input subsidy currently being given under the Rajiv Gandhi Nyay Yojna to paddy cultivators.
Earlier, the state government used to procure 15 quintals of paddy per acre and from this year it has started purchasing 20 quintals of paddy per acre, he said.
Caste census will be conducted in the state so that social justice can be ensured, he said.
Wood used in funeral pyres will be arranged by the state government in urban areas, he said.
Tendu leaf collection will be done at Rs 6,000 per standard sack in place of the existing Rs 4,000 and tendu leaf collectors will additionally get an annual bonus of Rs 4,000, he said.
"A Mahtari Nyay Yojana will be launched for women under which a subsidy of Rs 500 per cooking gas cylinder will be given to women of all income groups. The subsidy will be directly deposited into the bank accounts of women. Schemes which are currently operational will continue if the Congress retains power in the state," Baghel said.
"Like last time, farm loans will be waived. As soon as the Congress government was formed in 2018, we waived the loans worth Rs 9,272 crore of 18.5 lakh farmers. Loans of Self Help Groups and women availed under the Saksham Yojna will also be waived," the CM said.
Houses will be provided to 17.5 lakh poor families, while financial assistance given under Rajiv Gandhi Bhoomihin Kisan Nyay Yojna will be increased from Rs 7,000 per year to Rs 10,000 per year, he added.
Under the Dr Khubchand Baghel Health Assistance Scheme, the poor will get free treatment up to Rs 10 lakh in place of the current Rs 5 lakh, and those in the APL category will get up to Rs 5 lakh in place of the existing Rs 50,000, he said.
"Tivara (a type of lentil) will be purchased from the farmers at support price. The outstanding motor vehicle tax and penalty worth Rs 726 crore till 2018 of more than 6,600 vehicle owners associated with the transport business will be waived," the CM said.
Meanwhile, senior BJP leader and former chief minister Raman Singh termed the Congress' manifesto as 'labari patra' (document of lies).
There was no need to release it since not a single promise made in the 2018 manifesto has been fulfilled, he claimed.
In the last five years, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel has only been indulged in anti-people activities, Singh alleged.
"Baghel has promised to hike the paddy rate by Rs 100 (per quintal) by copying BJP's Sankalp Patra (manifesto) but such an act also requires intelligence.The Congress says it will buy 20 quintals of paddy per acre at Rs 3200 per quintal, while BJP says it will buy 21 quintals of paddy per acre at Rs 3100 per quintal," Singh said.
"As per the Congress, a farmer will get Rs 64,000 per acre, while the BJP will give Rs 65,100 per acre, which is Rs 1,100 more," Singh explained.