‘Kaam, Daam, Shaan, Sushashan, Swabhimaan, Samman’ is what the Congress party has based its manifesto on. Literally translated these words are “work, pride, self respect, and presence in societya”. Some of these are directly targetted at women who are expected to be out in big numbers to vote in 2019 election. Of the 13 million new voters expected nearly half will be women. Little surprise political party manifestoes are talking to women. Here are highlights of the Congress
- More jobs in the government: Congress Manifesto claims to amend the Service Rules to reserve for women 33 per cent of appointments to posts in the Central Government.
- To increase the participation of women in the labour force, the party says it is going to maintain every Special Economic Zone to have working women’s hostels and safe transport facilities.
- After the Anaganwadi workers staged a massive protest against the current regime for their shoddy treatment and remuneration dealing, the party claims to increase funding for the relevant programmes of Para-State workers like Anganwadi workers. It will also work with the state governments to ensure that all their arrears and dues are paid immediately.
- Plans to expand the ASHA programme and appoint a second ASHA worker in all villages with a population exceeding 2500 persons.
- More incentives to businesses who employ a “certain” number of women.
- Congress says it is going to create lakhs of low-skill jobs for young men and women who have only acquired a few years of schooling.
- More women will be appointed to government and municipal jobs in towns and cities.
- Enhanced representation at all levels of the judiciary for women, SC, ST, OBC, minorities and other under-represented sections of society.
- The party ensures that State police forces reserve 33 per cent of all vacancies in direct recruitment and promotion for women constables and officers.
RESERVATION, DIGNITY AND HYGIENE
- Manifesto calls upon passing the the Constitution (Amendment) Bill to provide for reservation of 33 per cent of seats in the Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies in the first session of the 17th Lok Sabha and in the Rajya Sabha.
- The party states that it will work with State Governments to implement a programme to provide single, widowed, divorced, abandoned or destitute women a dignified and secure life.
- Work with State Governments to digitise land ownership and land tenancy records and, in particular, recognise ownership and tenancy rights of women farmers and ensure women get the benefits of agriculture- related scheme.
- Congress promises to expand ICDS and provide a crèche in every Anganwadi based on need and demand.
- It also promise to launch National Rural Livelihoods Missio (NRLM-2) to make SHGs a key instrument for the economic empowerment of women, to increase livelihood opportunities and to usher in transformative social change.
- The party strives to build nights shelters for migrant women workers, hygienic public toilets for women in towns and cities and sanitary napkin vending machines in public spaces, schools and colleges.
- In the post #Metoo era, Congress says it’s planning to conduct a comprehensive review of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplaces Act, 2013 and extend the Act to all workplaces. “We will additionally institute measures to address all forms of harassment of women,” says the Congress manifesto.
- It plans to pass a model legislation to establish a separate investigative agency to investigate heinous crimes against women and children and urge State Governments to enact a law to establish such an investigative agency.
- Stronger action with respect to crimes against women, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and minorities. The law will be applied on the perpetrators without fear or favour. They will not be allowed to walk on the streets with a sense of impunity.
- Congress will hold the District Administration responsible for riots, caste or communal violence, large scale crimes against women, and for the widespread breakdown of law and order.
- They claim to launch a programme to appoint an Adhikar Maitri in every Panchayat to serve as a paralegal to educate women on, and assist them in the enforcement of, their legal rights.
- It appeals to enforce the Equal Remuneration Act, 1976 rigorously to eliminate wage pay disparity among men and women.
Before the release of the party manifesto, its spokesperson, Priyanka Chaturvedi told SheThePeople.TV in an exclusive interview that women’s safety is not having women only buses but a detailed approach to safety which looks at giving women more agency while they are in public spaces. “We have to move to prevention. The more women coming out in public spaces that’s important. We need to normalise women in spaces. CCTVs, public transport being accessible to women and patrolling on the roads in sensitive roads. Most importantly we need accountability. And no government can absolve itself from taking responsibility,” she added.
In this day and age, parties cannot abstain from including women as a separate entity in their manifestoes if they are looking at winning elections. As women voters increase in percentage and even surpass male voters in several states, their needs and concerns need to be taken seriously right from the party manifesto. Working on similar lines, here are the promises that will benefit women from Congress manifesto.