New Delhi, Mar 26: Congress Wednesday promised to push economic growth rate to 8 per cent in the next three years, create 10 crore jobs and take firm steps to contain inflation.

In its manifesto for the upcoming elections released by Congress President Sonia Gandhi, the party also pledged to encourage Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and push Goods and Services Tax (GST) and Direct Taxes Code (DTC) within one year of coming into power.

The party also expressed its commitment to create a national consensus on affirmative action for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for jobs in the private sector.

The 15-point agenda for socio-economic and political transformation include initiatives like promoting flexible labour laws, systemic efforts to recover black money and increasing health expenditure to 3 per cent of GDP.

Indian economy, which grew by over 9 per cent before the 2008 global financial crisis, has slipped to decade’s low of 4.5 per cent in 2012-13. In the current fiscal, it is estimated to expand by 4.9 per cent.

“Continuing our record of delivering India’s highest growth rates, we will restore India to 8 per cent plus growth rate within 3 years,” the manifesto said adding that government would continue to take firm action to control inflation even in difficult global economic scenario. Admitting that there will be a moderate level of inflation in a developing economy, it said “Reserve Bank must strike a balance between price stability and growth while formulating monetary policy”.

The RBI, it may be mentioned, has been maintaining a hawkish monetary policy stance in its bid to contain inflation. The central bank is scheduled to announce its next policy policy on April 1. Although the WPI inflation which was nearing double digits fell to a nine month low of 4.68 per cent, the retail inflation still remained elevated at 8.1 per cent in February.

As regards jobs creation, the manifesto said, that within 100 days of coming into power the party would announce “a detailed jobs agenda to ensure that we create 10 crore new jobs and entrepreneurship opportunities for our youth.”