New Delhi: The Congress on Tuesday promised it would enact a law to provide 25 kg of rice or wheat a month at Rs.3 per kg to families living below the poverty line (BPL) and expand schemes to improve the well being of farmers and their families.
The Congress manifesto, released here by party President Sonia Gandhi, said: "The Indian National Congress pledges that every family living below the poverty line either in rural or urban areas will be entitled, by law, to 25 kg of rice or wheat per month at Rs.3 per kg."
The manifesto also promises that subsidised community kitchens will be set up in all cities for homeless people and migrants with the support of the central government.
"Along the lines of NREGA (National Rural Employment Guarantee Act), we will enact a National Food Security Act," the Congress said.
"The Indian National Congress pledges to enact a Right to Food law that guarantees access to sufficient food for all people, particularly the most vulnerable sections of society," the manifesto said.
The Congress, which is seeking a fresh mandate under the leadership of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, said it would expand schemes for improving the well-being of farmers and their families and ensure that farming is a profitable occupation.
"The Indian National Congress pledges that every small and marginal farmer in the country will have access to bank credit at lower rates of interest. While the massive loan waiver scheme has already been implemented and 3.68 crore (36.8 million) farmer-families have benefited from it, the Indian National Congress now pledges to extend interest relief to all farmers who repay bank loans on schedule," says the manifesto.
The Congress said it was determined to ensure that farming becomes a profitable occupation.
"All measures in support of this objective will be taken. The special needs of crops like tea, coffee, rubber, spices, cashew and coconut will be met. A renewed emphasis will be placed on wasteland development and afforestation," says the manifesto.
"Minimum Support Price (MSP) and procurement will be ensured at the doorsteps of farmers," assures the manifesto.
All controls on the free movement of farm commodities and processing of agricultural products and all regulations that depress incomes of farmers will be systematically eliminated, says the Congress.
The Congress said it was firmly committed to ensuring that farmers get, at a very minimum, market rates for the land that is acquired for industrial projects.