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AAP promises lowest VAT in India

Arvind Kejriwal led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) manifesto for the Delhi assembly polls, released today, reiterated party’s position to not allow FDI in retail in the state. It promised the lowest VAT or Value Added Tax in India, simplifying VAT rules and committed itself to “pro-farmer land reform”.

The 70-point manifesto also promised a 50 per cent reduction in power tariff, free Wi-Fi across Delhi, installing 10-15 lakh CCTV cameras for safety of women, making water a legal right and providing 20,000 litres of free water to each household per month. It also promised to scrap the mandatory 10 per cent increase in water tariff every year.

Other promises include constructing two lakh toilets, 500 new government schools, 20 new degree colleges, and 30,000 more beds in government hospitals. It also committed to creating eight lakh jobs in Delhi in the next five years and making the city a “start up hub”.

AAP chief and former Delhi Chief Minister, Kejriwal said the manifesto was a result of four month long engagement with the people of Delhi. The 49-day AAP government had reduced the power tariff by half for consumption upto 400 units. The Congress in its manifesto, released earlier this week, promised to reduce power tariff to Rs 1.50 per unit for consumption up to 200 units per month. The BJP has decided not to release its manifesto, but a vision document. The BJP had, for the 2013 assembly elections, promised a 30 per cent reduction in power tariff.

The manifesto stated that AAP will formulate trader-friendly policies and streamline rules and regulations for setting up and running businesses. “We will ensure that starting a trade or business in Delhi takes a maximum time of one week,” it said.

On land reform, AAP said it will scrap section 33 and 81 of the Delhi Land Reform Act, which put unjust restrictions on farmers’ rights over their land. “No land will be acquired in Delhi’s villages without the consent of the Gram Sabha. Strong pressure would be exerted on the Central government to remove unnecessary restrictions regarding land use in villages,” it said.

Kejriwal said his party, if it formed the next government in Delhi, will ensure the passage of the Delhi Lokpal Bill to check corruption and bring a Swaraj Bill to devolve power to the mohalla level and increase people’s participation into decision making. AAP will also create a citizens Local Area Development (CLAD) fund. Kejriwal led government had resigned in February 2014 after failing to ensure the passage of the Lokpal Bill in the Delhi assembly.

It will give second language status to Urdu and Punjabi, and encourage research and study in these languages as also Sanskrit. It will use 200 acres of land lying vacant with a government department for affordable housing, and promised to regularize within one year of government formation the unauthorized colonies. It said it will fill the 55,000 vacancies in the Delhi government and autonomous bodies.

It said it will push for full statehood for Delhi. Currently, the Delhi government does not have land, public order and police under its jurisdiction. The BJP had promised full statehood in its 2013 assembly election manifesto. The Congress-led UPA was at the Centre then. The BJP has refrained from making that promise this time.

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