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BJP's election manifesto

The poll manifesto released by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for Assembly elections in Assam is expected to set multiple electoral narratives for all the three-phases of polling.

BJP

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  2021-03-24T10:30:29+05:30

The poll manifesto released by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for Assembly elections in Assam is expected to set multiple electoral narratives for all the three-phases of polling. Voters usually review the performance of the government over the past five years to judge the merits of the new promises. They also draw parallel with performances of successive governments to make a comparative assessment to decide their mandates. Electioneering brings an opportunity to go to the voters and convince them about the roadmap of implementation of the poll promises over the next five years. Termed Sanakalpa Patra, the poll manifesto of the ruling party includes several key promises, successful implementation of which are critical to addressing some of the burning problems of the state. It has promised to launch Mission Brahmaputra to eliminate all losses to lives, livelihoods and property due to annual floods. The Mission will involve dredging of the river from Sadiya to Dhubri and building of reservoirs to store excess water from the river and its tributaries. Technical details of such an ambitious mission should be left to the experts. Adequate funding of research work to support the experts come up with pragmatic solutions to the perennial problems of flood and erosion under such a Mission will require assistance from the Central government. A comprehensive approach is needed for management of the entire river stretch from Sadiya to Dhubri instead of current practice of piecemeal solutions to address the problems of flood and erosion. Every year properties including educational institutions, government offices, dwelling houses, roads, bridges worth thousands of crores of rupees are lost, standing crop are destroyed in floods, homestead and farmlands are lost in erosion pushing the farm families into penuries and creating the vicious cycle of poverty and backwardness. Better management of the river can minimise the losses and improve the economy of individual households and overall economy of the state. Long term solutions to these burning problems can put the state on a faster track of progress but these issues over often overshadowed by political issues and fade out from public discourses. Other promises made by the ruling party include making Assam "India's Entrepreneurial Hub" and creation of 10 lakh youth entrepreneurs through the Swami Vivekananda Assam Youth Employment Yojana (SVAYEY). It has promised to support 2 lakh youths each year through this scheme for the next five years. Voters will expect more clarity on availability of required funding for such ambitious scheme in a state that often suffers from resource crunch. The manifesto promises one lakh jobs in the public sector before March 2022 and 8 lakh jobs in the private sectors to woo the young voters (below 30 years) who constitute the largest block of 65 lakh. Viability of job creations depends on overall economy of the state and the country. The downturn in the economy due to COVID-19 pandemic will make the task of showcasing this promise as a viable a challenging task for ruling coalition. Promise to increase monthly assistance under Orunodoi scheme to Rs 3000 from existing amount of Rs 830 and to expand the coverage for 30 lakh families is bound to trigger new hopes and aspirations among women voters. Cash in hand plays significant role empowering women from the status of a mere homemaker to a decision maker but ensuring judicious utilisation of the amount will be possible only through financial literacy of prioritising household needs. Direct benefit transfer successfully implemented by the BJP-led coalition government eliminated the middlemen who used to gobble up scheme money meant for beneficiaries in the past. This has made Orunodoi a popular scheme, more particularly among women but there were also allegations of deprivation of a section of eligible beneficiaries. The enhanced amount promised will bring a new challenge of withdrawal of large number of women workers in unorganized sectors such as Anganwadi, ASHA workers if their wages is not increased to an amount higher than the Orunodoi scheme. There will be cascading impact of such withdrawal of workers in the unorganized sectors on development works in the state. Besides, improving resource mobilization by the State government will be critical to sustain such welfare schemes as the state cannot be dependent on the Central government to fund such schemes as central assistance should be utilized more on creating assets such as connectivity projects, educational institutions, healthcare institutions. BJP has pledged to distribute land pattas with requisite rights, to all landless Indian citizens of the state in a phased manner. Distribution of land pattas are also important for success of schemes aimed at grooming entrepreneurs as it serves as the key collateral for availing loans from bank and other financial institutions. For decades, political narratives dominated electioneering in the state. The state desperately needs development issues to take the centre stage.

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