Bangalore: The Congress on Wednesday promised interest-free loans to farmers, free laptops to pre-university students and rice at Re one per kg to BPL card holders if it came to power in Karnataka, where Assembly elections will take place on May five.
Interest-free loans up to Rs two lakh and on three per cent interest up to Rs five lakh, establishing of a Rs 1,500 crore natural calamity relief fund and supply of three-phase quality power for eight hours continuously per day were some of the highlights of farmer-friendly programmes in the manifesto, released by Defence Minister AK Antony.
The party promised to provide free laptops/digital notepads to all PUC students and making Kannada the medium of instructions compulsory and teaching English as a subject from the first standard.
It expressed commitment to total implementation of the Food Security Act and offering Rs one per kg of rice up to 30 kgs for below-poverty-line ration card holders. A one-time loan waiver to SC/ST/OBC/women/child/fisheries and minorities development corporation, and carrying forward unspent budgetary allocations of special component plans were some of the promises under the social welfare department.
The party government would establish fast-track courts to try terrorism-related cases and heinous crimes on women and children, and also constitute a state-level committee under the chairmanship of a retired High Court judge to look into cases of detention implicating innocent individuals in terrorism related cases.
"We will establish statutory state agricultural prices commission and district committees, with members from among farmers, and give 75 per cent subsidy for solar energy-run irrigation pump sets up to 10 hp", President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee G Parameshwara said.
The party also promised to develop a greater Bangalore interconnecting second Tier cities around the state capital, and review existing structure of Bangalore city corporation and make it administratively viable.
Union Ministers Mallikarjuna Kharge, M Veerappa Moily, Rahman Khan, KH Muniyappa and Jitendra Singh and senior Congress leaders Ambika Soni and Oscar Fernandes, former Chief Minister N Dharam Singh, besides Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Siddaramaiah, were among those present.