Economic policies spelt out by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) in its manifesto for the Lok Sabha election reflect the party’s oft-reiterated position on several issues.

Be it Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in retail trade or universal public distribution system, the party general secretary and Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s reservations are well known.

In the section relating to electoral promises that concern Tamil Nadu, the manifesto has made it clear that the party will take all necessary measures to rescind the policy of FDI in retail trade at the all-India level.

“Half-baked”

Likewise, the AIADMK has termed as “half-baked” the Food Security Scheme, as adopted by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre, and said it will replace the scheme with Universal Public Distribution System (UPDS), which would benefit all the people of the States that are already implementing the UPDS.

In the case of the pricing policy of petrol, diesel and natural gas, she has been critical of the approach of determining domestic petrol and diesel prices taking into account international prices.

Articulating this position in the section of the manifesto regarding the promises that are of interest to the nation, the party has stated that it will take steps to change the mechanism of determining the prices of petrol and diesel and will also withdraw the authority given to oil marketing companies to determine the prices of petrol and diesel.

Referring to an amendment in the Union budget last year which made certain statutory levies non-deductible from the income of State Public Sector Undertakings, the party has repeated Ms. Jayalalithaa’s opposition, which was expressed even then on the ground that the provision would hurt non-tax revenue of the State considerably. The party has resolved to take steps for the withdrawal of the amendment.

The manifesto is, however, silent on the Sethusamudram project which has traditionally been projected by several political parties as one that would transform economy of southern region of the State. For about 10 years, the AIADMK has been opposed to the project, citing various reasons.

Welfare measures

Referring to a host of welfare measures such as social security pensions, distribution of mixies, wet grinders and fans and solar-powered green house scheme, the party has promised electors that it will ensure implementation of the schemes at the all-India level.

No estimate of funds required has been indicated but a perusal of allocations made in the Tamil Nadu budget for 2014-2015 for 15 welfare schemes in the areas of education, health and social security reveals that about Rs. 13,500 crore has been set apart.

The important allocations include social security pensions - Rs. 4,200 crore; distribution of mixies, wet grinders and fans – Rs. 2,000 crore; solar-powered green house scheme – Rs. 1,260 crore and distribution of laptops to students – Rs. 1,100 crore.

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