Apr 3, 2009
NEW DELHI, April 3 (Reuters) - India's main Hindu-nationalist opposition party promised low taxes and interest rates to revive a slowing economy and a tough posture on Pakistan in an election manifesto on Friday aimed at boosting its poll ratings. [ID:nDEL392183]
Following are highlights from the manifesto:
Generate employment through massive public spending on infrastructure projects.
Complete the National Highway Development project by building 15-20 km of new highways every day and link all villages with over 500 people by all-weather road.
Introduce schemes to encourage private industry and services sectors. Ensure low tax, low interest rate regime.
Exempt personal income tax for those earning up to 300,000 rupees ($6,000) annually. For women and senior citizens the exemption will be 350,000 rupees.
Remove tax on interest income from bank deposits for all, except by companies and those who have business income.
Scrap Fringe Benefit Tax.
Tight regulatory monitoring to safeguard the public from companies indulging in fraudulent practices on the stock market.
Construct one million houses for the poor every year; kick-start the struggling real estate sector.
Bring down interest rates on mortgages to make urban homes affordable.
Take firm steps to identify and retrieve money illegally stashed abroad.
Boost tourism sector: Identify 50 destinations and develop infrastructure, connectivity. Double foreign tourist arrivals in 5 years to help generate employment in the hospitality industry.
Ban on foreign direct investment in the retail sector to help domestic retail trade. FARM
All families below the poverty line to get 35 kg of rice or wheat every month at 2 rupees per kg. This will be available against food coupons redeemable at public distribution system and private outlets.
Ensure farm loans at a maximum interest of 4 percent.
Waive agricultural loans.
Introduce a farm income scheme through which both price and produce will be insured.
Irrigate 35 million hectares of additional farmland within 5 years.
Initiate special schemes for the urban poor, such as loans at 4 percent interest to poor vendors.
Set up a workers bank to provide a safety net for unorganised sector workers.
Revise minimum wages and ensure the Wages Act is followed strictly.
Take stern steps against militants, cross-border or home grown. Overhaul intelligence, tougher law will be introduced.
Enhance naval security along India's 4,000 km coastline.
Detect, detain and deport illegal immigrants who have emerged as a major source of homegrown militant attacks. Fencing of the India-Bangladesh border will be speedily completed.
Use diplomacy to isolate and stop cross-border militant attacks and support for separatist groups.
Wage war against Maoist groups throughout the country.
Introduce a National Identity Card for citizens.