The Congress government in Himachal Pradesh is in a fix over the poll promise of monthly ‘unemployment allowance’ to the unemployed youths that the party made during the 2012 Assembly elections.

Even as the opposition BJP is all set to take up the issue in the budget session of the state Assembly beginning March 1 here, rejecting the state government’s effort to skirt the issue by granting the ‘skill development allowance’ instead. 

What has actually heated up political environs in an election year in HP at the moment is the forceful demand by the ruling Congress party, asking its own government to implement the Congress manifesto.

Led by Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) president, Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu, a party delegation on Wednesday met the Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh and urged him to honour the poll promise on unemployment.

 “It is a question of credibility of the manifesto. The Congress government has already fulfilled more than 80 per cent poll promises made in the run up to 2012 Assembly polls. We have urged the government to fulfil the promise of unemployment allowance also,” Sukhu told The Statesman.

He said the issue had been discussed in the party threadbare and the government should calculate the liability of unemployment allowance.

The BJP, on the other hand, has termed the Congress party’s action as high drama. “The Congress party has woken up in the fifth year. They are befooling the people. In fact, the Congress party and the government are working in connivance. If in the poll year, the Congress government announces the unemployment allowance, it would again be cheating with unemployed youths,” said Rajeev Bindal, Chief spokesperson of state BJP.

As per Congress manifesto for HP Assembly polls in Himachal Pradesh in 2012, the Congress party had promised to give Rs.1,000 per month to 10+2 and graduate unemployed youths of the state, whose total family income is up to Rs.2,00,000 per annum. The party promised that the handicapped graduate unemployed youths will be given an unemployment allowance of Rs.1,500 per month.

However, when the issue of unemployment allowance was raked up by a Congress minister, GS Bali and then joined by BJP, Chief Minister, Virbhadra Singh had  explained that the government had gone in for a better option of ‘skill development allowance’, wherein the unemployed youth were being given vocational training for employment.

Singh said that 1.52 lakh unemployed youths have so far been benefitted under the scheme, with government earmarking a budget of Rs.100 Crore every year.

The BJP has already dismissed it.“The Congress manifesto talked to unemployment allowance, not a skill development allowance. Even otherwise, the skill development is a centrally funded scheme,” said Rajeev Bindal.