Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan’s dream of making the citizens “lakhpatis” has become one of the top promises of the Democratic Front government, as per the joint election manifesto of the Congress, the Nationalist Congress Party and the Republican Party of India-Gawai.

“To raise per-capita income to Rs.1 lakh per annum through various developmental programmes in five years and create so many lakhpatis,” reads the 21-point programme which was released on Friday by the Chief Minister and the leaders of the ruling alliance.

Among the welfare measures, the parties have promised to make available 25 kg of foodgrain, including wheat, rise and jowar, per month at Rs.3 per kg to below-poverty-line (BPL) families.

Construction of 10 lakh houses for the economically weaker sections is also on the agenda. “People below the poverty line need help the most. They will be our top priority,” Mr. Chavan said.

The manifesto also aims at ending the power crisis and making the State “free of load shedding by 2012” by enhancing the implementation of existing programmes.

The agenda proposes a master plan for the “Vision Mumbai” project, with a view to develop the city as an international financial centre and a global city in five years. In light of the 26/11 attacks, security measures and police reforms would be a top concern.

In terms of infrastructure development, it speaks of the construction of the Mumbai-Nashik expressway and extension of the Pune-Mumbai expressway to Sion in Mumbai.

Echoing the Union Cabinet’s decision on representation of women in panchayats, the manifesto assures of legislation “to reserve 50 per cent seats for women to be filled by direct elections in the panchayat institutions at all levels.”

As part of the women welfare-related schemes, the State will provide interest-free loans to self-help groups by women from Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes as an incentive to start enterprises.

For every girl child, investment in a fixed deposit is proposed. Under the Maher (maternal home) scheme, the State will provide Rs.1.25 lakh for a girl’s education and marriage. Girls will also be provided free education till graduation and for boys, class XII. In addition, the State will make education free and compulsory for children from the age of 6 to 14 years. The State will also try and improve the quality of education.

For the farm sector, the manifesto promises a loan of Rs.3 lakh at an interest of 3 per cent per annum has been promised.

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