Ideology and policies
Historically, the party has favored farmers, laborers, labor unions, and religious and ethnic minorities; it has opposed unregulated business and finance, and favored progressive income taxes. However, in recent years the party had adopted centrist economic and social democratic agenda. Today, the INC advocates neo-liberal policies which includes populism, social liberalism, secularism and free enterprise system with government regulations such as public–private partnership (PPP) model. Though it still believes in eradicating poverty, illiteracy and strongly supports the weaker section of the society.
Social policy of the INC is based on Gandhian concept of Sarvodaya (upliftment of all sections of the society.) In particular INC gives special emphasis on the welfare of the economically and socially disadvantaged sections of the society. This includes “affirmative action” reservations for weaker sections of the society in education and employment, emphasis on employment generation for rural population (through schemes such as National Rural Employment Generation Scheme) etc. The party supports family planning with birth control but opposes elective abortion, in particular sex selective abortions and late term abortions.
Traditionally, Economic policy of the INC emphasized on the importance of the public sector aimed at establishing a “socialistic pattern of society”. However, since the economic liberalizations initiated by Dr. Manmohan Singh, the then Finance Minister in the early 1990s, the economic policy of INC has been changed somewhat and it is now adopted free market policies, though at the same time it is in favour of taking a cautious approach in proceeding with liberalization to ensure that the weaker sections are not affected too hard by the liberalization process.
Traditionally, nonalignment has been the bedrock of the foreign policy of the INC.
The organization developed by Mohandas Gandhi’s reorganization of the Congress in the years of 1918 to 1920 has largely been retained till today.
In every Indian state and union territory or pradesh, there is a Pradesh Congress Committee, which is the provincial unit of the party, responsible for directing political campaigns at local and state levels and assisting the campaigns for Parliamentary constituencies. Each PCC has a Working Committee of 10-15 key members, and the state president is the leader of the state unit. The Congressmen elected as members of the states legislative assemblies form the Congress Legislature Parties in the various state assemblies, and their chairperson is usually the party’s nominee for Chief Ministership.
The All India Congress Committee is formed of delegates sent from the PCCs around the country. The delegates elect various Congress committees, including the Congress Working Committee, which consists of senior party leaders and office bearers, and takes all important executive and political decisions.
The President of the Indian National Congress is in effect the party’s national leader, head of the organization, head of the Working Committee and all chief Congress committees, chief spokesman and the Congress choice to become the Prime Minister of India.
Constitutionally, the president is to be elected by the vote of the PCCs and members of the AICC. However, this procedure has often been by-passed by the Working Committee, choosing to elect its own candidate as an emergency measure.
The Congress Parliamentary Party is the group of elected MPs in the Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha.It is headed by senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee. Since the current Prime Minister Dr.Manmohan Singh is not an elected member of the Lok Sabha, Pranab is the CPP president. Dr.Singh is Leader of the Rajya Sabha. There is also a CLP leader in each state. The CLP (Congress Legislative Party) consists of all MLAs in each state. It also comes under the CPP so Pranab is head of the MLAs also.In cases of states where the Congress is single-handedly ruling the government,the CLP leader is the Chief Minister.