New Delhi, Mar.26 (ANI): A casual glance through the Congress Party's latest manifesto indicates that it has placed on itself a huge and onerous task of fulfilling 29 promises as part of its nation-building endeavour between 2009 and 2014, should it emerge victorious in this year's general elections.
The 21-page manifesto starts off with a pledge to ensure a "life of security, dignity and prosperity" for every Indian citizen, and claims "we have delivered on promises made in our manifesto of 2004 in a very substantial measure".
On why Indian citizens should vote for the Congress, the manifesto, jointly released by party president Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, says the following:
. The Indian National Congress is anchored in the larger vision of India as a nation, while at the same time being sensitive to regional and local sentiments.
. The Indian National Congress has demonstrated its commitment to a striong centre, strong states, strong panchayats and nagarpalikas and the. Indian National Congress is the only party with an All India perspective and an All India presence.
Before moving on to its promises to be fulfilled between 2009 and 2014, the party manifesto lists its 12 major achievements in the preceding five years, and says these achievements speak for themselves.
The 29 promises for 2009-2014 are listed under the heading "The Work Programme: 2009-2014). They include the following:
Guarantee the maximum possible security to every Indian citizen and zero tolerance towards terrorism
Ensure the highest level of defence preparedness and welfare for the armed forces
Accelerate police reforms and institutionalise police force accountability
Build on the success of the NREGA
Enact a National Food Security Act
Guarantee health security for all
Comprehensive social security for all those at special risk
Make quality education affordable
Implement a nation-wide skill development programme
Expand the scope of schemes for improving the well being of farmers and their families
Democratise functioning of cooperatives
Promote greater impetus to empowering weaker sections
Sharper focus on special needs of children, especially the girl child
Make elected panchayats institutions financially strong
Connect all villages to the broadband network by 2012
Give special focus to the small entrepreneur and small and medium enterprises
Strike a balance between high growth and fiscal prudence
Introduce a goods and services tax from April 2010
New look to urban governance
Offer a new deal to youth to participate in governance
Protect and rejuvenate India's natural environment
Promise to carry out renewal of science and technology infrastructure
Pursue judicial reforms to cut down delays in judgments
Promote sensitivity to regional aspirations
Ensure energy security for India by adding 12,000 to 15,000 MW of capacity every year from 2009 to 2014
Preserve and promote India's heritage
Continue to pursue an independent and pro-India foreign policy and
Intensify involvement with overseas Indians in development-related initiatives (ANI)