Amma's bonanza: AIADMK's manifesto promises mopeds, gold
Strategically timed on a day when Congress President Sonia Gandhi was scheduled to address a poll rally along with ally and DMK President M Karunanidhi, the manifesto was unveiled by Jayalalithaa at a public rally in Perundurai, in a departure from the usual practice of releasing it at the party headquarters in Chennai.
Highlighting key aspects of the much-awaited manifesto containing series of populist measures covering various sectors, she promised that her party, if voted again to power, will provide a mobile phone to all ration card holders.
Steps will be taken to ensure employment to one member of each household through various programmes including vocational training, Jayalalithaa said.
She said her party-led government will provide 100 units of power to all homes under the present consumption calculation method, saying it will benefit 78 lakh consumers "who need not pay electricity bills," if it came to effect.
"The free laptop scheme for students of Classes XI and XII will continue and free internet connection will be provided along with this," she said amidst loud cheers from the large gathering in this rural town in Western Tamil Nadu.
Among many other ideas, the manifesto promises to encourage the production of Ethanol by sugar mills, so that farmers may get better prices for their sugarcane crop. Ethanol, also known as drinking alcohol, encouragement appears to be at odds with the AIADMK's promise to enforce prohibition in Tamil Nadu in phases. Ethanol also has other uses, mainly as a substitute for petrol or diesel in vehicles and generators.
Jayalalithaa promised to increase financial assistance under a maternity scheme from Rs 12,000 to Rs 18,000 and assured to double the quantum of gold for thali (mangal sutra) from the existing four gms.
Further, the party assured to give a Rs 500 coupon for people to buy handloom clothes from state-run Co-optex during the harvest festival of Pongal.
Waiver of cooperative farm loans, the creation of Amma Venture Capital Fund of Rs 500 crore to promote first generation entrepreneurs, a Rs 100 crore Amma Collateral Guarantee Fund to provide collateral-free loans to SMEs were some of the other promises made in the manifesto.
The manifesto also said the government will repay educational loans of persons who remain unemployed, and assured to provide 50 per cent subsidy for women to buy a scooter or moped.
The party promised to provide 'Amma Banking Card' in association with banks and this can be used for all banking transactions and receive government services.
In the farm sector, AIADMK promised to give Rs 40,000 crore of crop loan for the 2016-21 five year period and assured to expedite mechanisation of farming activities besides a host of other welfare measures including various subsidies.
Genetically-modified seeds will not be allowed in the state and nature farming will be encouraged, it said and reiterated its commitment against the implementation of Coal Bed Methane and Shale gas projects in the Cauvery delta area as well as the GAIL pipeline through farmlands in the state.
On the inter-state river disputes, the AIADMK manifesto promised to strive for 'complete implementation' of the 2007 final award of the Cauvery Tribunal while efforts will be taken to raise the water storage level at Mullaperiar in Kerala to 152 ft.
For fishermen, the party promised to hike the dole during fishing ban period to Rs 5,000, a separate housing scheme for them and retrieving the islet katchatheevu from Sri Lanka.
In the power sector, the party promised to add 18,500 MW of power from various sources in the next five years and assured that power infrastructure will be upgraded for proper distribution of electricity.
AIADMK also promised implementation of prohibition in a phased manner, besides establishment of Lokayukta, expanding the Metro Rail projects to other cities like Coimbatore, a series of projects in highways, infrastructure and a new granite policy.
Efforts by neighbouring states to "deny water" to Tamil Nadu will be countered through talks and by approaching the Supreme Court, the party said.
Various schemes aimed at mitigating price-rise, such as 'Amma Cement,' 'Amma Dispensaries' and free mineral water schemes will be upgraded and expanded.
A Dr BR Ambedkar Foundation will be established at a cost of Rs five crore to spread the ideals of the leader; it said while promising a series of welfare measures to SC/ST and minority community members.
Flagship schemes announced in the 2011 poll manifesto, like providing free milch animals, will continue, the party said.
Key points from AIADMK manifesto:
* ₹40,000 crore loans for farmers in 2016-21
* Fisherfolk assistance to be hiked to ₹5,000
* No FDI in retail
* Free Laptops with an internet connection for 10th and 12th std students.
* Maternity assistance of ₹18,000
* 100 units electricity free every two months.
* Relief for fisherfolk to be increased to ₹5,000
* Separate housing for fisherfolk.
* Famers loans to be paid Cooperative banks completely waived off
* Women to get 50% subsidy to buy mopeds or scooters
* Master health check-up and women special check up to be expanded to all districts.
* Assures uninterrupted supply of power
* Poor people to get Amma Banking Card to avail all government services
* 20% land on SME industrial parks will be reserved for SC/ST entrepreneurs.
* New granite policy, Lok Ayuktha on the anvil.
* All ration card holders to get co-optex coupons worth ₹500 for Pongal festival.
* 10 lakh houses promised through various housing schemes.
* One sovereign gold for women ahead of marriages
* Free cell phones for all ration card holders.
* State govt. employees salary to be revised as per 7th Pay Commission.
* ₹1 lakh for temples of local deities.
* Aavin to provide milk for ₹25 per litre.
* Govt. to reimburse education loans.
* Amma banking card to improve financial services - to get interest-free loans and avail of government schemes.
* Free wi-fi at public spaces.
* Breakfast under nutritious meal scheme.
* Women to be trained in driving vehicles and subsidy provided to buy autorickshaws.
* Old pension scheme for govt. employees to continue.
* Housing loan for govt. employees to be raised to ₹40 lakh
* Education loans of students who are still unemployed to be paid by the govt.