Tamil Nadu freebie wars: AIADMK ups DMK's promises
Chennai: It is raining promises of freebies in Tamil Nadu polls. AIADMK chief J. Jayalalithaa Thursday exceeded her arch rival DMK's promises to the voters in a bid to win the April 13 assembly polls.
Jayalalithaa has promised freebies ranging from free laptops to students, fans, grinders, mixies, rice, housing plot, cash assistance for students, free water and many other things, outdoing the DMK.
Her promises were contained in the party's much-waited manifesto, which she released while filing her nomination papers for election from the Srirangam constituency - around 330 km from here.
'Ours is a growth oriented manifesto and we are going to increase productivity of milk, cotton, rice, and industry,' she told reporters after releasing the manifesto in Tiruchirapalli, about 335 km from here.
For the student community, Jayalalithaa has promised free laptops at senior school and college level, and cash assistance of Rs.1,000-Rs.5,000 to students up to Class 12 of all schools to reduce school drop-out rates.
The DMK has promised free laptops to first-year students of professional colleges.
To attract women voters, Jayalalithaa promised a free fan, grinder and mixie. She said her government would increase the maternity leave to six months and give a cash allowance of Rs.12,000. She also promised increase in loan assistance for self-help groups to Rs.10 lakh, of which Rs.250,000 will be a subsidy.
The DMK has promised a free grinder or a mixie and the loan assistance of Rs.400,000 for self-help groups.
The AIADMK boss also promised half a sovereign gold for 'mangalsutra' for poor women getting married, and for women who have completed diploma education the marriage assistance will be increased to Rs.50,000.
Jayalalithaa said her government would build a green house on three cent land to below-poverty-line (BPL) families at an outlay of Rs.180,000 per house. She also promised extension of the scheme for the four million strong middle class with a subsidy of Rs.100,000.
She also promised 20 kg free rice monthly and 20 litres of water daily. The DMK has promised 35 kg free rice monthly.
For those who do not own land, Jayalalithaa promised allotment of three cents land for construction of house, and some action in favour of those who have borrowed housing loan from cooperative societies.
For the agriculture sector, the AIADMK has promised appropriate steps for ushering in of second green and white (milk) revolution if voted to power.
Jayalalithaa also said her party would hike the procurement price for sugarcane to Rs.2,500 per tonne.
She said action would be taken for doubling of cotton production and to double the cotton farmers income. The party also promised encouraging organic farming.
She said AIADMK government would distribute 60,000 milch cows free in 6,000 villages to increase milk production. For BPL families, she has promised four free goats.
For the fishing community, the AIADMK has promised increase in cash assistance during non-fishing season, setting up of fish processing parks, and sea food export processing zone.
Jayalalithaa has promised loan assistance for educated youth for starting business, and also 25 percent reservation of government orders for the new entrepreneurs.
For the senior citizens, the AIADMK boss promises free bus passes for inter and intra-state travel. And for the differently abled persons, she promised three percent reservation in government jobs.
The monthly assistance for senior citizens, destitute women and others would be increased to Rs.1,000.
She also promised extension of freebies to Sri Lankan refugees in the state.
Jayalalithaa also promised to nationalise the cable television business in the state while protecting the last mile service providers. She also promised recovery of land 'forcibly taken over' by the family members of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi and DMK Ministers.
Queried about the funds for the schemes she said: 'You will see when that happens and we have explained that in our manifesto.'
According to her, the DMK government has left the state in a debt of over Rs.100,000 crore and it is going to be a big task to bring the state out of the debt burden.