BJP vows to improve economy, end policy paralysis


April 7, 2014

Though the manifesto focused on economy, ending policy paralysis and curbing corruption, contentious issues like Ram temple, abrogation of Art 370, enactment of Uniform Civil Code have been included

April 7, 2014

Though the manifesto focused on economy, ending policy paralysis and curbing corruption, contentious issues like Ram temple, abrogation of Art 370, enactment of Uniform Civil Code have been included

BJP Leaders (from left Sushma Swaraj, L.K.Advani, Rajnath Singh, Narendra Modi and Murli Manohar Joshi releasing the party manifesto for the 2014 Lok Sabha election in New Delhi on Monday.

Giving high priority to revival of growth and job creation, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday promised to contain inflation, pursue tax reforms and promote foreign investments but said no to FDI in multi-brand retail.

Released here by top BJP leadership, the party’s election manifesto accused the Congress—led UPA government of unleashing ‘tax terrorism and uncertainty’ and engendering 10 years of jobless growth.

The BJP promised to set up a Price Stabilization Fund to check inflation, ensure fiscal discipline and pursue banking sector reforms to deal with the problem of rising bad loans.

“The country has been dragged through 10 years of jobless growth by the Congress—led UPA Government. Under the broader economic revival, BJP will accord high priority to job creation and opportunities for entrepreneurship,” it said while unveiling the road map for the future.

With regard to the agriculture sector, the manifesto promises to create a single ‘National Agriculture Market’ and increase public investment in the farm sector.

Referring to taxation, it said, “the UPA government Government has unleashed ‘Tax terrorism’ and ‘uncertainty’, which not only creates anxiety amongst the business class and negatively impacts the investment climate, but also dents the image of the country.”

Road map for tax policy

Promising tax reforms, BJP said its tax policy roadmap include focus on a non-adversarial and conducive tax environment, overhaul of the dispute resolution mechanisms, bringing on board all state governments in adopting GST (Goods and Services Tax) and provision for tax incentives to promote investment.

The manifesto said a BJP led government at the centre will unbundle FCI (Food Corporation of India) operations into procurement, storage and distribution segments for greater efficiency.

It also promised to promote and support area specific crops and vegetables linked to food habits of the people.

On promotion of industry, BJP said: "We should no longer remain a market for the global industry. Rather, we should become a Global Manufacturing Hub".

It said India will have to encourage the domestic industry to innovate and collaborate internationally.

Talking about "economic freedom", the manifesto said Government will not get in the way of the freedom of individuals to start and operate legitimate businesses. "Increased economic freedom will break open the economic space to new entrants, especially in the form of small and medium-enterprises, creating jobs and prosperity," it said while stressing on cutting red tape and simplifying procedures to do business.

Referring to the manufacturing sector, BJP said it will take "all steps" like faster approvals, investment in logistics infrastructure, ensuring power supply and undertaking labour reforms, besides other steps to create a conducive environment for investors.

The manifesto also promised that the government will initiate building 100 new cities enabled with the latest in technology and infrastructure – adhering to concepts like sustainability, walk to work, and focus on specialized domains.

On skill development, BJP said a 'National Multi-skill Mission' will be launched and vocational training on a massive scale will be promoted.

Contentious issues

Contentious issues like construction of a Ram Temple in Ayodhya, abrogation of Art 370 giving special status to Jammu and Kashmir and enactment of Uniform Civil Code have been included in the BJP’s election manifesto with the party making promises on them.

The 52-page document, released among others by its PM candidate Narendra Modi at the party headquarters here, also pledged to provide good governance and inclusive development.

“BJP reiterates its stand to explore all possibilities within the framework of the Constitution to facilitate the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya,” the manifesto, delayed by a fortnight, said.

Asked about the reported differences within the party over inclusion of the Ram Temple issue, Mr. Joshi, said “whatever is there is there in the manifesto. If you want to write something on the basis of your own perceptions, you are free to do".

The release of the manifesto came on the opening day of the 9-phased Lok Sabha elections drawing criticism from rivals.

There was speculation that Mr. Modi had reservations over the document drafted by Mr. Joshi and that the pet themes of sangh parivar may not figure in it in view of Mr. Modi’s stress on development in the current campaign.

“Cultural heritage"

Asked if the party was trying to confuse voters by including Ram Temple and whether this could be called raking up Hindutva, Mr. Joshi said, “this has nothing to do with Hindutva or athva (otherwise). This is only a promise of development programme.”

He said Hindutva has never been an election issue and added the manifesto was based on issues of development and governance.

“We have put it in the section on “Cultural Heritage".

What is culturally important for us we have said,” Mr. Joshi said referring to the promise on Ram Temple. He added the issue had been included in the previous election manifesto too and the party’s stand remained unchanged.

On Uniform Civil Code, the manifesto said Art 44 of the Constitution lists Uniform Civil Code (UCC) as one of the directive principles of the state policy.

“BJP believes that there cannot be gender equality till such time India adopts a UCC which protects the rights of all women and the BJP reiterates its stand to draft a UCC drawing upon the best traditions and harmonising them with modern times,” said the document.

Courtesy: PTI