The manifesto also promises expansion of Metro rail. It will also set up Lok Ayukta in the State
The ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) has announced several freebies to voters in Tamil Nadu if re-elected. These include free mobile phones, free laptops, along with internet and free electricty.
This time, other political parties including the main opposition Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, have refrained from offering major free schemes in their election manifestoes.
The AIADMK’s, issued on Thursday by its head and state chief minister, J Jayalalithaa (pictured), promises all ration card holders will get mobile phones free of cost. A free set-top box will be provided to all Arasu Cable TV subscribers. Free internet and up to 100 units of electricity free of cost, in effect exempting close to eight million consumers from paying power bills. Also, a Rs 500 gift coupon to all ration card holders during the Pongal festival. And, continuation of the earlier free laptop and free internet scheme for students.
It also promises a 50 per cent subsidy for women to buy a two-wheeler. A job will be ensured for at least one person from a family. Five new medical colleges will be established in the next five years.
The manifesto also reiterates Jayalalithaa’s earlier promise of complete prohibition of liquor sale and consumption, in a phased manner. Steps will be taken to provide dual citizenship to Sri Lankan Tamils in the state for many years. Expansion of the Metro Rail. And, a Lok Ayukta, a citizens’ ombudsman.
A Rs 100-crore Amma Collateral Fund will be set up for marginal institutions and an Amma Venture Capital Fund of Rs 500-crore for first-generation entrepreneurs. The Amma Mineral Water scheme will be expanded. And, an Amma Banking Card, to help repayment of loans. All long-term loans for farmers to be waived.
The government will, if re-elected, take over sale of beach minerals and a new Granite Policy will be evolved. Ethanol production will be encouraged in sugar mills to ensure better rates to sugarcane farmers. Genetically modified crops will not be allowed and nor will foreign investment in the retailing sector.
Around Rs 40,000 crore of agricultural loans will be issued through co-operative banks in the next five years. And, 13,000 Mw of power generation capacity.
The scheme to supply free goats and cows for the poor will be continued and free gold for brides from poor families to be enhanced to eight grammes. A subsidy will be offered for purchase of agricultural equipment and powerlooms will be provided free power up to 750 units. Primary school students will be provided a free breakfast, along with the already free mid-day meal.
Maternity leave will be raised from six months to nine months. Whenever tea prices dip, the loss will be compensated to plantation workers. Women will be provided training and financial assistance for purchasing auto rickshaws. Maternity assistance for women government staff to be raised to Rs 18,000. Separate houses for fishermen and assistance during the non-fishing period will be raised to Rs 5,000.
The party also announced that several of its welfare schemes in the previous regime will be continued if it comes back to power.