Lok Sabha polls: Congress unveils Paanch Nyay in full with focus on workers, weaker sections

Party president Mallikarjun Kharge launches poll manifesto, talks of ‘Shramik Nyay’ and 'Hissedari Nyay'

Rahul Gandhi on the last leg of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra (photo: bharatjodonyayyatra.com)
Rahul Gandhi on the last leg of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra (photo: bharatjodonyayyatra.com)

NH Digital

On Saturday, as Congress MP Rahul Gandhi wrapped up the 63rd and final day of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Mumbai, party president Mallikarjun Kharge addressed a press conference in Bengaluru to highlight the party’s manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, and its concept of ‘Paanch Nyay’ (five principles of justice), which the party will enact if voted to power in the elections, which begin from 19 April.

With the party having announced ‘Nari Nyay’ (justice for women), ‘Kisaan Nyay’ (for farmers) and ‘Yuva Nyay’ (for youth) earlier, Kharge focused on ‘Shramik Nyay’ (for labourers) and ‘Hissedari Nyay’ (for Dalits, Adivasis, Backward/ OBCs, minorities, and weaker sections). With five key points for five categories, the party is thus committed to 25 principles.

The five highlights of the Shramik Nyay scheme are:

Health Rights: The Congress will guarantee legislation on health rights for labourers, as well as arrangements for free medical tests, treatment, medication, surgery, rehabilitative and palliative care, and universal healthcare in the unorganised sector and for people with disabilities.

Minimum wage: The Congress will increase a minimum wage for workers of Rs 400 per day at the national level, which will also apply to MGNREGA workers.

Urban employment guarantee: The Congress will enact an employment guarantee law for urban areas, under which public infrastructure will be built, cities adapted to climate change, and the social service system boosted.

Social security: Life insurance and accident insurance for all workers in the unorganised sector.

Secure employment: Congress will review the “anti-worker labour codes” passed by the Modi government, and guarantee appropriate amendments to protect the rights of workers. Contract labour will “only be the last resort”, Kharge said, ensuring the protection of workers’ rights with clear justifications. Compliance with minimum social security standards in contract employment will also be “mandatory for the private sector”, he said.

Alongside, the Congress president also announced Hissedari Nyay. “Today, I am announcing the ‘Partnership Justice Guarantee’ of the Congress Party for all brothers and sisters from Dalit, Adivasi, Backward/ OBC, minority, and weaker communities across the country,” he said.

Once again, the five highlights are:

Ginti (count): The Congress guarantees a comprehensive social, economic, and caste census, which entails a survey to ensure participation of all castes and communities in the administrative mainstream, their representation in national wealth, and in institutions related to governance.

Reservation rights: The Congress also guarantees that a Constitutional amendment bill will be passed to increase the reservation limit for SC, ST, and OBC candidates for government jobs to 50 per cent.

Legal guarantee of SC/ST plan: The Congress guarantees the revival and enforcement of the special component plan for SC and ST communities by law. Some Congress-ruled states have already taken this step.

Legal rights to water-land-forest: The Congress guarantees the protection of forest rights of Adivasis, and promises to resolve all pending claims under the Forest Rights Act within one year, as well as initiate a process for reviewing rejected claims within six months.

The Congress will also increase the MSP guarantee on minor forest produce. Additionally, it will repeal all “anti-tribal amendments” to the Forest Conservation Amendment and Land Acquisition Act.

Our land, our rule: The Congress guarantees self-governance to Adivasi communities and the protection of their cultural rights. The party is also committed to designating all such settlements as scheduled areas where Adivasis are the largest social group.

Kharge additionally announced that the Congress is committed to making laws in states in accordance with the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas Act (PESA) to establish ‘Gram Sarkar’ and ‘Autonomous District Government’ as envisaged in PESA.

In an X post, Congress MP and communications in-charge Jairam Ramesh wrote extensively about the Paanch Nyay and said, “Today, when the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra reached its culmination at Dr Ambedkar Memorial, Chaityabhoomi in Mumbai after covering a distance of 6,600 km from Manipur and a long journey of two months, @INCIndia announced its Paanch Nyay — twenty-five guarantees. These Paanch Nyay — Yuva Nyay, Naari Nyay, Kisaan Nyay, Shramik Nyay, and Hissedari Nyay — together will dispel the darkness of injustice and pave the way for a prosperous and harmonious future for the people of India.”

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