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Tamil Nadu Polls: AIADMK seeks to outsmart DMK, unveils super populist manifesto

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Chennai, Mar 14: The ruling AIADMK on Sunday unveiled a super populist manifesto for the April 6 Assembly polls, promising, among others, houses free of cost to people, Rs 7,500 annual subsidy to farmers, free solar cooking stoves and washing machines.

Representational Image

Educational loan waiver,government jobs to families without anyone in state service and many more sops were announced.

Notably, the ruling party, an ally of the BJP, said it would urge the Centre to scrap the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act and strive to bring education to the state list from the concurrent list of the Constitution.

Essential commodities given through Public Distribution Outlets would be door delivered to beneficiaries.

An initiative along these lines was recently launched by the neighbouring Andhra Pradesh government.

Increase in maternity leave for women government employees from nine months to one year and construction of new buildings with modern medical facilities for about 2,000 Amma Mini Clinics found mention in the manifesto.

To those not owning houses,the government would build and provide houses free of cost in rural and urban areas under the 'Amma Illam Thittam' (Amma Housing Scheme) and interest on housing loans availed from cooperative housing societies would be waived on loan repayment.

Tamil Nadu Polls: BJP releases candidates list, Khushbu to contest from Thousand LightsTamil Nadu Polls: BJP releases candidates list, Khushbu to contest from Thousand Lights

As part of measures to bring about economic equality, Rs 1,500 per month would be disbursed to all ration card holders and the amount would be credited to bank accounts of woman family heads, senior AIADMK leader C Ponnaiyan said here.

Women would get a 50 per cent fare cut in town buses, Ponnaiyan, also the party's organising secretary said, underscoring the important aspects of the manifesto at the party headquarters.

Distribution of solar powered cooking stoves, washing machines and six LPG cylinders a year -all free of cost- to rice category ration card holders, a subsidy of Rs 7,500 per year to farmers to incentivise farm production were among the over 160 promises made by the ruling party, that has been in power in Tamil Nadu since 2011.

''To protect the interests of students and parents, educational loans would be waived,'' the party said. However, aspects like criteria for waiver and beneficiaries was not known immediately.

Steps to get fuel prices reduced, expanding the rural employment guarantee scheme to 150 days from the present 100, increase in subsidy under the Amma Green Housing Scheme from Rs 2.43 lakh to Rs 3.40 lakh were promised.

College students who have been getting 2 GB data to support studies would get it throughout the year.

''For sure, a government job will be provided to one person from a family without anyone in government service.'' Increase in social security pensions for beneficiaries, including senior citizens, from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000, 'Amma's gift (Amma Seervarisai)' like household items for newly wed couples under the state's marriage financial support scheme, free of cost cable TV connections to rice ration card holders and two free mosquito nets to poor were among the promises.

The financial assistance to differently abled would be increased to Rs 2,500 from Rs 1,500.

Continued support for release of seven Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convicts, steps to ensure welfare of Tamils in Sri Lanka and to get dual citizenship for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in camps in India were assured.

The AIADMK said it would further expand the nutritious meal programme for school students and give laptops to students of self-financing classes of government schools.

Milk (200 ML milk or milk powder) to school students and children attached to Anganwadi centres and Rs two cut in state run Aavin milk price were some of the planned initiatives.

'Amma banking card' scheme to provide interest free loans (in association with banks) to help ordinary and poor people repay loans in installments and Rs 25,000 subsidy to purchase e-Autos were assured.

AIADMK pledged to set up an Islamic university, increase assistance to Hindu pilgrims to visit important centres of pilgrimage in India, hike Haj subsidy from Rs six crore to Rs 10 crore and bear the full fare for Jerusalem pilgrims.

Increase in the quota for women in government jobs to 40 per cent (from the current 30 per cent) and appropriate reservation for all castes are some of the other key aspects.

Features, including quota for women in state jobs, found in the ruling party's 163-point manifesto has already been promised by the DMK, which released its poll document on Saturday.

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