Hyderabad: With just five days to go for polling, two major rival parties in Andhra Pradesh — ruling Telugu Desam and main opposition YSR Congress — have come out with their manifestos on Ugadi, the Telugu New Year Day festival on Saturday showing generous sops on all sections of society.
While Jaganmohan Reddy released his party’s manifesto in the morning in Amaravati promising among other things financial assistance for marriage of Rs100,000 (Dh5,305) for the girls of all the weaker sections of society and jobs to 10 young people in every village, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu released TDP manifesto in the afternoon at the same place. Titled “Your Future-My Responsibility”, the manifesto promised interest-free loans to farmers, small and medium industrial parks in every village and town of the state, Rs2 million in overseas scholarship to students of all weaker sections and a separate bank for tribal people.
Taking a leaf out of the book of his friend and Telangana Chief Minister, Jaganmohan Reddy has promised financial assistance of Rs12,500 per acre in May every year to farmers. Telangana has been implementing the scheme for some time.
Chandrababu Naidu, on the other hand, pointed out that while his government was already implementing the scheme of financial assistance to farmers, the scheme will be extended to tenant farmers.
Laying special emphasis on farmers both the parties have promised market-stabilising funds. While TDP promised a fund of Rs50 billion, Jagan promised Rs30 billion to help farmers in getting remunerative price for their produce.
Jagan has also promised the Aarogyasri scheme providing free medical care for all families with an annual income up to Rs500,000. Any treatment costing more than 1,000 will be covered by the scheme which was earlier implemented successfully by his father YS Rajasekhar Reddy in undivided Andhra Pradesh.
He also promised financial assistance of Rs15,000 per annum to women who send their children to school. Social welfare pensions and unemployment allowance will be increased to Rs3,000 per month and a calendar will be announced for the recruitment on government jobs, Jagan said. He also promised Rs50,000 per annum for women’s self help groups.
Another major promise was introduction of prohibition in phased manner. Earlier such attempt by NTR government in 1994 had ended up in a major failure.
Major promises of TDP include reducing the age for the pension for aged to 60 years from 65 years, free higher education, medical insurance increased to Rs500,000, Chandranna Insurance increased to Rs1 million, free crop insurance to farmers, free housing for all and Rs100,000 financial assistance for the marriage of girls of all sections. He also promised 12 hour free power to farmers every day.
Such was the competition between the two rivals that while Chandrababu Naidu promised to increase honorarium for Imams and Muezzins to Rs10,000 and Rs5,000 respectively, Jagan has promised Rs15,000 per month to both categories.