National People’s Party (NPP) National President Conrad K Sangma released the party’s election manifesto for the 2023 Assembly elections called the “People’s Document – Vision 2023-28” on February 3.
The document details the vision for the people of Meghalaya for 2023-28, focusing on creating opportunities and employment for the youth, and support to farmers and villages. It also includes a summary of the key achievements titled as ‘Promises Delivered’ and the story of making a better Meghalaya, while the vision details taking Meghalaya from better to Best.
The document encapsulates the idea that the party has achieved several milestones in the past five years in serving the citizens of the state that lays a strong foundation upon which the vision has been built to create a better society for all the citizens. NPP calls this document as People’s Document as it lists out the detailed interventions targeted towards each and every citizen of Meghalaya – a roadmap of Better to Best Meghalaya.
FARMERS: The vision documents states that Rs.2500 crore will be spent in 5 years where 8 lakhs beneficiaries will get Rs. 5000 every year.It also states that All the programs will be expanded multi-fold to increase coverage to reach 5 lakhs farmers.
YOUTH: The vision document promises 5 lakh more employment and livelihood opportunities . It also states that 5,000 entrepreneurs/MSMEs will be supported and PRIME Hubs will be set up in all the blocks to support enterprises. The vision states all youth groups in every village and locality to get a support for up to Rs. 1 lakh and Rs. 100 crore will be spent annually to support youth groups. According to the vision document 50,000 young sportspersons will be screened and 1,000 athletes will be selected and provided world-class training to achieve national and international excellence. It also states that over 2 lakh youth will be trained in soft-skills over 5 years.
WOMEN: The vision document states that all pregnant women will be benfited under the NPP government and institutional delivery will cross 90 per cent in the state. The vision document states that it will expand coverage to 6 lakhs households and emphasis will be given on improving income and livelihood opportunities for the SHGs.
The government will continue to increase public expenditure with a focus on increasing revenue while increasing expenditure on development and infrastructure . The government aims to improve infrastructure of all the government schools and will prioritize quality of education and enhance digital learning in schools across the state.
The vision documents states that it will improve quality of healthcare for women, children and cancer patients and will provide medicines at subsidized rates through 'Chief Minister's Affordable Drug Centres'. It also states that all health centres will be upgraded.
The vision documents states that 5,000 more persons will be supported to build homestays and Rs. 500 Cr of investments will be made over 5 years. It states that new rural tourism infrastructure to be established across 100 villages.
1,000 high quality rooms will be built across the State. Sports Infrastructure will be constructed in every block of the state.
According to the vision document Rs. 300 Cr to will be spent towards supporting communities and land owners for protecting forests
Government will focus on sustainable water management policy, regenerating natural water bodies, adopting water harvesting techniques and will ensure timely completion of all major ongoing projects.
On Urban Rejuvenation Government promises to build new administrative city in New Shillong area to decongest Shillong and will continue investments for Tura & Jowai Smart Town and Smart Village projects. Government also promises to improve the quality of livelihood for urban residents,improve safety, traffic management and nitiate Smart Town Project in all urban areas.
On Air Connectivity Government plans to expand the existing or build a new larger airport for movement of larger aircraft carriers and promises that Baljek airport, Tura will be operationalized.
On law and order , the vision documents states that it will increase investments to modernize police infrastructure, strengthen cyber security capabilities. Female police stations will be set up in all districts and fast-track discussions with militant groups within constitutional framework for workable solutions.
On border issues Government promises to continue working towards arriving at a workable agreement on the Meghalaya-Assam border issue by engaging with all concerned stakeholders.
On ILP and language issues Government promises to continue to engage with the Government of India for theinclusion of Khasi and Garo languages in the 8 Schedule of the Constitution of India and for the implementation of the Inner Line Permit in Meghalaya.
On Mining issues in the state the vision document states that the government will protect the livelihoods of those engaged in the mining sector by promoting scientific and sustainable mining.
While All India Trinamool Congress concentrated more on cash transfer promises including We Card for women and MYE card for youth, all cash transfer schemes. NPP promises were a mixed bag of cash transfer and infrastructure development along with a planned roadmap with interventions to build an ecosystem of employment for youth.
Highlights of NPP’s vision was 5 lakh jobs and employment opportunities for the youth, Village community facilitators employment for 6,500 villages, 1,000 CM facilitation centre for government services at grassroot level, FOCUS & FOCUS+ schemes, prime hubs for entrepreneurs at block, CM village connectivity scheme for road construction, boost to sports infra, agriculture logistics infra, bridges, airport, health and education infra.
NPP’s document pictorially explained the interventions and the intended beneficiaries, thus depicting how the vision of the party is addressed to meet the need of every section of the society. AITC’s 10 pledges are more direct cash transfer schemes ideated at West Bengal. AITC believes those schemes which had brought them electoral victory in West Bengal is the recipe of success in Meghalaya as well. While the document details about the projected increase in capital expenditure (which ideologically is different from AITC which talks more about cash transfers only) the next statement states the intent to increase in Government revenue, thereby planning a sustainable development.
Bajop Pyngrope Secretary NPP and NPYF and Secretary NPP said “The TMC's election manifesto is nothing but a collection of empty promises and unrealistic goals. They have no practical plan to bring real change in a state like Meghalaya. Their ideas lack dignity for Meghalayan citizens and it's clear they are just trying to win votes without actually having the ability to deliver on their promises. The “Baaki” Cards are nothing but cash for vote scheme, they plan to make Meghalaya like West Bengal where poor citizens are at mercy of TMC party workers for government schemes. The citizens of Meghalaya has witnessed good governance in last 5 years and we will continue to provide them with real solutions and a proven track record of success."
Ampareen Lyngdoh, Spokesperson NPP and candidate East Shillong commenting on TMC’s Manifesto said “The TMC's manifesto is full of fake promises and unrealistic ideas. It lacks any substance or practical solutions to the pressing issues faced by our state. TMC wants to take Meghalaya 30 years back just like they did in West Bengal. The citizens deserve better than hollow words and unachievable goals. Our Manifesto is a vision document based on a proven track record of delivering results and detailed plan for next 5 years. We are confident in our vision and will continue to work tirelessly for the betterment of our state."
On the 2 manifestos, citizens of Meghalaya are presented with a choice – one which has a detailed step by step plan for development and other which has a flurry of cash transfers. One can argue that a step by step planned interventions may take 4 or 5 years to make Meghalaya really great. On the other hand, the other manifest converts government to a UPI payment gateway of collecting tax and providing cash transfers.
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