In anticipation of the Lok Sabha elections 2024, the Congress party has unveiled its manifesto, termed “Nyay Patra,” outlining significant commitments aimed at empowering women across India. With a focus on justice and equity, the manifesto encompasses five pillars, including provisions specifically tailored to address the needs and rights of women. Here’s a comprehensive overview of the key promises put forth by the Congress party for women in the upcoming polls

Mahalakshmi Scheme: Cash Transfer for Poor Indian Families

Under the Mahalakshmi scheme, Congress pledges to provide an annual unconditional cash transfer of ₹1 lakh to every economically disadvantaged Indian family. The transfer will be directed to the oldest woman in the household, ensuring direct financial support to marginalized communities.

Reservation in Government Jobs

Congress commits to instituting a 50% reservation for women in central government jobs, effective from 2025. This affirmative action aims to enhance female representation and participation in the workforce, fostering gender inclusivity in public sector employment.

Enhanced Representation in High Positions

The party vows to increase the representation of women in high-ranking positions such as judges, law officers, and directors on boards of listed companies. By facilitating greater access to leadership roles, Congress endeavors to break barriers and promote gender equality in decision-making spheres.

Wage Parity and Employment Benefits

Congress emphasizes the principle of “Same Work, Same Wages,” advocating for wage parity across diverse sectors. Additionally, the party pledges to double the wages of ASHA, Anganwadi, and Mid-Day Meal workers, recognizing their invaluable contributions to society.

Strengthening Self Help Groups (SHGs)

To bolster economic empowerment, Congress proposes an enhancement in credit facilities extended to Self Help Groups (SHGs) by banks, Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs), and Micro Finance institutions. This measure aims to facilitate entrepreneurship and financial independence among women.

Ensuring Workplace Safety and Maternity Benefits

Congress underscores its commitment to improving women’s participation in the workforce by guaranteeing fair wages, safe working environments, and maternity benefits. By prioritizing the welfare of working women, the party seeks to promote inclusivity and support work-life balance.

Reinforcement of Legal Safeguards

The party pledges to rigorously enforce existing laws aimed at protecting women’s rights, including the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace Act 2013 and the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act 2005. Through strict enforcement, Congress aims to combat gender-based offenses and ensure justice for survivors.

Expansion of Support Infrastructure

Congress promises to double the capacity of working women hostels and establish one Savitribai Phule hostel in each district. Additionally, the party proposes the appointment of Adhikar Maitri in every panchayat to provide legal education and assistance to women, empowering them to assert their rights effectively.

9. Access to Menstrual Hygiene Products

In a bid to promote menstrual hygiene, Congress plans to install free napkin vending machines in schools, colleges, and public places. This initiative aims to eliminate barriers to access and ensure dignity and convenience for women and girls.

10. Provision of Public Sanitation Facilities

Congress commits to providing an adequate number of safe and hygienic public toilets in towns and cities, addressing a critical aspect of women’s safety and sanitation infrastructure.

11. Reservation in Legislative Bodies

The party pledges to implement one-third reservation for women in the next round of Assembly elections in 2025. Furthermore, Congress vows to extend the one-third quota for women to the Lok Sabha in 2029, fostering greater gender parity in legislative bodies.

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