Congress May Include ‘Right To Healthcare’ In 2019 Manifesto

Congress may promise “right to healthcare” in its upcoming Lok Sabha pills manifesto. This is likely to be another big populist move to win the voters after Rahul Gandhi had announced the “right to minimum income”. 

Sources said the Lok Sabha poll manifesto is likely to go with “right to healthcare” which may aim to create a system whereby a person can walk into any hospital for treatment. While details are still being worked out, the commitment would mean that it would add to the schemes presently available to citizens.

It would be another addition to the “rights based regime” erected by UPA during its decade in power, having enacted “right to education”, “right to food”, “MGNREGA” and “right to information”. Seeking to influence voters with “welfarism”, Congress strategists believe the way to neutralise the post-Pulwama “diversionary campaign” of BJP is a strong commitment to pro-poor agenda. 

In what set the poll campaign abuzz early, Rahul Gandhi announced in January-end that a future Congress government would provide an assured income to the poor. It would be the highlight of the manifesto to be released after Holi.

For “right to healthcare”, Congress may promise that its government would ensure high budgetary allocation to the health ministry which would take care of the treatment sought as a matter of right. Sources said the details were being worked out and would figure in the manifesto. 

The manifesto would also form the core of any “vision document” or “common minimum programme” that the opposition parties plan to release jointly. Congress may also try its own “upper caste” initiative to match BJP’s 10% quota move by promising a clutch of scholarships/fellowships for meritorious students from “economically weaker sections”.