Provision of free rice of 35 kg a month to the poorest of the poor, distribution of free wet grinder or mixie to women and extension of free power supply scheme for horticulture are the highlights of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam's election manifesto for next month's Assembly elections.
Chief Minister and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi released the manifesto at the party headquarters in the presence of senior leaders of the DMK and allies. Finance Minister and DMK general secretary K. Anbazhagan received the first copy of the manifesto.
At present, rice of 35 kg is supplied every month at Re.1 a kg to the poorest of the poor, who have been covered under the Antyodaya Annayojana (AAY) scheme of the Central government. The number of beneficiaries is 18.64 lakh families. Though the State is following a universal public distribution system and does not classify families into Below Poverty Line (BPL) and Above Poverty Line (APL), the AAY families have been identified on the directions of the Supreme Court.
The manifesto stated that as the DMK was “fully aware” of the hardships of women, the party, after coming to power in the 2006 elections, implemented the scheme of distributing colour television sets. This time, free grinder or mixie would be given, according to their choice. The scheme of free power supply, which until now did not cover horticulture, will be extended to horticultural crops and coconut farming. Handloom weavers now getting 100 units of free power supply bimonthly will be supplied 200 units of free power in the event of the DMK coming back to power.
Senior citizens, aged 60 and above, would be issued free bus passes for travel in local buses. The old age pension of Rs.500 per month will be hiked to Rs.750 per month, the party assured people.
Coimbatore and Madurai would also be covered under the Metro Rail projects on the lines of the one for Chennai. The party also promised that the Chennai Metro Rail Project would be extended up to Mamallapuram and also up to Irungattukottai through the Sriperumpudur industrial area.
The financial assistance of Rs.75,000 given to beneficiaries under the Kalaignar Housing Scheme would be increased to Rs.1 lakh.
Laptops would be distributed free to first-year students of the Backward Classes, Most Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes pursuing professional degree courses in government and government-aided colleges.
The party document stated that a DMK government would examine the demand for absorbing the interest of educational loans issued to students during 2004-2009.
Mr. Karunanidhi averred that most of the electoral promises given by his party in the 2006 election had been fulfilled. His government had disproved the “malicious propaganda” that the assurances given before the previous elections remained on paper.