From 'aata' and data to caste census: What Samajwadi Party's manifesto promises

It also promises an increase of health expenditure to 3.5 per cent of the GDP

sp-manifesto-pti Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and party leaders release the manifesto for Lok Sabha elections, at party headquarters in Lucknow | PTI

The Samajwadi Party released a 20-page manifesto today, titled ‘Janta Ka Maang Patr, Humara Adhikar’ (The Public’s demands - our rights).

The manifesto kicks off with the larger aim to integrate the weakest and the most impoverished across all sections of society.

The broad heads of the manifesto are: Constitutional rights; Social and Economic rights; Social Justice; Farmers’ welfare; Youth and Employment; Health and Education; Women Empowerment; Labour Welfare; Jungles and environment; and Industry and Commerce.

One of the most interesting heads is the right to aata (flour) and data. The party’s promise to give high quality wheat flour instead of grains and to set up ‘aata plants’ near mandis to generate employment.

The data promise includes the provision of Rs 500 worth of data to every ration card holding family. While the manifesto labels this as a means to end the digital divide, there is no mention of the periodicity with which this data will be made available.

The manifesto, which is peppered with photos and quotes from Chaudhary Charan Singh to Mulayam Singh Yadav and from Mahatma Gandhi to Bhim Rao Ambedkar, focuses on the rights to save the Constitution, democracy, the freedom of the press and democratic institutions, plus the right to justice and equality.

For farmers, it promises MSP on milk and all agricultural products based on the M.S. Swaminathan formula. The other big promise is the constitution of a Farmers' Commission to monitor farmers’ debts and to provide continuous relief to them.

The manifesto takes the employment guarantee to urban India with the promise to implement a MNREGA-like Act. It also takes on paper leaks, which have been endemic in the state, and promises to curb them all.

It promises an increase of health expenditure to 3.5 per cent of the GDP, which is more than one percentage point over current expenditure.

For women below the poverty line, it promises a monthly pension of Rs 3,000. There is also mention of reviving the Old Pension Scheme for para-military and others. For traders, there is the promise of a review of the GST regime and for weavers, special schemes.

The manifesto makes multiple references to Artificial Intelligence - from its use in mapping smart village clusters to putting the country on the forefront of AI developments.

On one of the most important issues - the caste census - the party has promised to get this conducted by 2025, the same year by which it will also fill in all vacant posts of Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and backward classes.

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