Freebies rule AIADMK poll manifesto

RSTV Bureau
Perundurai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa with party leader M Thambidurai releases the party's election manifesto in Perundurai on Thursday. PTI Photo

Perundurai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa with party leader M Thambidurai releases the party’s election manifesto in Perundurai on Thursday. PTI Photo

AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa is set to address five rallies in Chennai a day after the party released its poll manifesto.

The ruling party has promised a slew of freebies ahead of the May 16 polls.

Free mobile phones, laptops, clothes, electricity, gold and Wi-Fi are only some of the freebies promised by the party in the populist manifesto.

“The free laptop scheme for students of Classes XI and XII will continue and free internet connection will be provided along with this,” Jayalalithaa said amidst loud cheers from the large gathering in a rural town in Western Tamil Nadu.

If voted to power again, Jayalalithaa will provide 100 units of power to all households under the present consumption calculation method, saying it will benefit 78 lakh consumers “who need not pay electricity bills,” if it came to effect.

The party assured to give a Rs 500 coupon for people to buy handloom clothes from state-run Co-optex during the harvest festival of Pongal.

Highlighting key aspects of the much-awaited manifesto, Jayalalithaa said steps will be taken to ensure employment to one member of each household through various programmes including vocational training.

Increased financial assistance under a maternity scheme, double the amount of gold for thali (mangal sutra), waiver of cooperative farm loans, repayment of loans for the unemployed, and a fund to promote entrepreneurs and a Rs 100 crore Amma Collateral Guarantee Fund to provide collateral-free loans to SMEs is promised by her party.

The manifesto also said government will repay educational loans of persons who remain unemployed, and assured to provide 50 per cent subsidy for women to buy scooter or moped.

For the farm sector, AIADMK promised to give Rs 40,000 crore of crop loan for the 2016-21 five year period, and assured to expedite mechanisation of farming activities besides a host of other welfare measures including various subsidies.

For fishermen, the party promised hiking the dole during fishing ban period to Rs 5,000, a separate housing scheme for them and retrieving the islet katchatheevu from Sri Lanka.

(With inputs from PTI)