Mumbai, April 7 IANS | 9 months ago

The Nationalist Congress Party said it would promote the privatization of agriculture, give reservations to the Muslims and Marathas and adopt zero tolerance to terror, in its election manifesto released here Monday.

The party, headed by party chief and union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar said that "privatization and price protection to farmers" would be its strategy to synergise agriculture growth.

The private sector's participation in agriculture would be through "contract farming", it said in the 44-page manifesto released before the fist phase of polls in the state April 10.

The NCP also promised to provide an insurance policy to cover the entire agriculture sector and debt waiver to landless agriculture labourers, scheduled castes/scheduled tribals (SC/STs), and others.

It has also promised to make additional budgetary provisions for agriculture and irrigation sectors, increase production of oilseeds and pulses, and give increased remunerative prices for various crops.

While promising adequate representation to minorities in the public sector, government and semi-government organizations, the NCP said it does not support introduction of a uniform civil code.

It has said that it supports continuance of personal codes as long as they are not violative of the Indian Constitution.

The NCP also assured that it would ensure implementation of the Justice Sachar commission recommendations, including job reservations for Muslims on priority.

It said it will also strive for the passage of the Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence Bill, 2013 and also promised reservations in jobs and education for Muslims and Marathas.

The Marathas, long considered the ruling class in the state, comprise a crucial support base of the NCP in Maharashtra with most top leaders in the party and other parties hailing from the community.

The NCP would also seek private sector job reservations for SC/SsT and would work for quots for OBCs (other backward classes) in higher education sectors.

The party will also support the demand for a statehood to Andaman and Nicobar Islands and also giving full statehood to Delhi.

While assuring genuine financial autonomy to the states, the NCP would restrict the use of article 356 of the constitution to only at times if there was a threat to national security or the country's secular fabric.

Reiterating its commitment to secularism, equity and social justice, the NCP has advocated utilizing the capabilities of senior citizens as a social asset to promote adult education, immunization, AIDS awareness and other community initiatives.

The NCP, founded around 15 years ago, is allied with Congress in Maharashtra, is part of the UPA government at the centre and has presence in Arunachal Pradesh, Gujarat, Kerala, Meghalaya, Manipur, Nagaland and Odisha.

(Posted on 07-04-2014)

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