In the midst of election fever, both BJP and Congress have come out with their manifestos. The grand old party Congress released its manifesto on April 02, 2019 and Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) released its manifesto titled “Sankalp Patra”on April 08, 2019.
There has always been a debate in the country that political parties promise many things but can’t be held accountable for these promises once they come to power. It is from this persepective that we have tried to analyse and compare manifestos of both the parties.
We have identified the following objective themes based on which the people can measure and hold the government accountable.
- Border Security
- National Highways
- Medical Colleges (Health)
- Schools (Education)
1. Border Security
BJP Manifesto 2019: BJP is very clear about their future course of action regarding border security. More specifically, they have mentioned the exact number of integrated check-posts which will be operational in a select time frame.
Congress Manifesto 2019: Congress on the other hand has made the very vague promise of “constructing modern integrated border outposts” without mentioning the number of outposts they plan to create.
BJP Manifesto 2019: BJP in its manifesto has unambiguously stated the capital amount that will be invested in the infrastructure by 2024, a whopping Rs. 100 lakh crore.
Congress Manifesto 2019: Congress’s vision regarding infrastructure lacks objectivity and if one reads it, it looks like a bland document repeating the same rhetoric over and over.
About infrastructure, they are of the view –
- National Highways
BJP in its manifesto has a vision to develop 60,000 km of highways in the next 5 years.
Whereas Congress plans to ‘’augment the total length of national highways’’ and increase the pace of construction. It is not known how much will be added or by when it will be implemented?
For development of railways, BJP talks about a comprehensive plan touching all the aspects: from broad gauge tracks to freight corridor, from electrification of railway tracks to safety of passengers, and even envisaging completion of the dedicated freight corridor with a deadline of 2022.
On the other hand, Congress only talks about “modernising outdated railway infrastructure” with no deadline or special components to be worked upon. This is a rather generalised statement.
BJP in its manifesto says that it would double the number of functional airports in next 5 years, i.e., 202 functional airports by 2024.
Congress does not even talk about airports in its manifesto for reasons best known to the party only.
BJP Manifesto 2019: BJP in its manifesto is distinctly clear about the figures they want to set aside for the credit guarantee for the MSMEs, which is Rs. 1 lakh crore by 2024.
Congress Manifesto 2019: Congress talks about providing credit to MSMEs without backing it up with the amount they plan to invest for it. If one looks at their views on MSMEs, one doesn’t find any plans for MSMEs, leave aside the facts and figures. Here is what Congress says about MSMEs.
4. Start Ups
BJP Manifesto 2019: India needs a concrete plan of action for Start-ups. BJP in its “Sankalp Patra” brings clarity and specificity regarding start-ups. The party plans to facilitate establishment of 50,000 new start-ups in the country by 2024 and set up 500 new incubators and accelerators by 2024. There are many other quantitative targets too.
Congress Manifesto 2019: Congress has pledged to create an “Enterprise Support Agency” without talking about targets, that is how much innovation centres or incubation centres they plan to set up. There is too much ambiguity in their promise for start-ups.
5. Medical colleges (Health)
BJP Manifesto 2019: BJP distinctly stated in its Sankalp Patra about the number of medical colleges they will set up and the number of health and wellness centres they plan to open up. Under Ayushman Bharat, the party aims at setting up 75 new medical colleges and 1.5 lakh health and wellness centres.
Congress Manifesto 2019: Congress is silent about how many medical colleges they plan to open up. They only mention about increasing the capacity of medical colleges. No numbers are given.
6. Schools (Education)
BJP Manifesto 2019: BJP is again very clear about opening up national level schools like Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas. They have given the exact number of schools they plan to open by 2024 – “we aim to open another 200 schools by 2024.”
Congress Manifesto 2019: Congress in its manifesto does not talk about how many schools they plan to open if voted to power. However, they mention that school education will be transferred to state list, without talking about the future of centrally-funded Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navodaya Vidyalayas. Here is what Congress proposes:
BJP Manifesto 2019: BJP mentions about establishing 50,000 “Van Dhan Vikas Kendras” – for primary processing of the forest produce, which will provide instant employment to tribals locally.
Congress Manifesto 2019: Congress talks about establishing a National Commission for Non-Timber Forest Produce and offering minimum support prices for such produce. Again, it lacks objectivity and promises to create another bureaucratic set-up without giving local solutions.
Comparing both the manifestos on above issues, we have come to find that Congress lacks objectivity in their vision of how they plan to run the country. Their manifesto though talks about some acute issues, without giving a target-based solution for the same. BJP’s Sankalp Patra sets targets and plans to achieve it in a stipulated time frame which is the need of the hour, given the pace India is surging ahead.
The exact numbers and deadlines as given in BJP manifesto empower people of the country to assess its performance once it is voted to power and hold it accountable for its promises. In case of Congress, there is so much vagueness that its leaders can always take a U-turn as they have not promised anything specific.