From farm to university, the election manifesto of the Trinamool Congress for Meghalaya has declared a range of promises.
The manifesto, released by the party’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee in State capital Shillong on January 24, 2023, contains 10 pledges.
These include the generation of 3 lakh jobs over five years, a monthly allowance of ₹1,000 to every unemployed youth, 1 lakh laptops to higher secondary and college-going students, an annual financial assistance of ₹10,000 to farmers, direct benefit transfers of ₹1,200 annually to families of all government school-going children and a sports university.
The Trinamool promised the introduction of a private member Bill in Parliament for the immediate recognition of Khasi and Garo languages through their inclusion in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution. It also promised to revoke the boundary deal on March 29, 2022, between Meghalaya and Assam to settle disputes in six of the 12 sectors along their border.
Underlining the contribution of tourism to the State’s economy, the Trinamool said all individuals engaged in this sector would be identified and their services formalised through government-registered job cards so they get a monthly honorarium of ₹2,500 each.
The party promised to set up medical colleges, and maternal and child care centres in every block to provide efficient prenatal and postnatal services, bridge the shortage of specialists, staff and equipment at all primary health centres and community health centres and facilitate piped drinking water to all households.
Meghalaya has 6,459 villages and the Trinamool committed to connecting all of them with black-topped motorable roads and upgrading the major arterial roads to all-weather roads. Through “Mission Sports”, the party will identify, train and promote talent at the block level and set up a state-of-the-art multi-purpose stadium in all districts, the manifesto said.
The other promises include the setting up of a Meghalaya Music Promotion Board to promote the State’s musicians through training and assistance with the vision of taking local music to the global stage and establishing a cultural tourism circuit through the identification and the promotion of cultural and ecological hotspots in every district.
“A holistic Village Administration Bill will be introduced in consultation with [three] autonomous district councils and traditional headmen to uphold and protect the traditional institutions,” the manifesto reads.
The Trinamool also promised effective and immediate implementation of the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act (MRSSA) of 2016 to ensure a comprehensive registry of all legal tenants. If voted to power, the party will also set up an expert committee to assess the current situation in consultation with all stakeholders and organisations regarding the introduction of the Inner-Line Permit (ILP), and decide the way forward.
Pressure groups in Meghalaya believe the MRSSA and the ILP based on a British-era regulation will help prevent the influx of “illegal migrants”.