Housing for All, Food for All, Health for All’’ will be the United Democratic Front (UDF)’s signature slogan in its election manifesto, officially released here on Wednesday after a meeting of the coalition’s top leaders.
The off-beat suggestions in the manifesto include the establishment of an agriculture fund (Krishi Nidhi) through a Krishi Bumper Lottery, which would provide relief to poor farmers, free bicycles for all girl students up to Standard 8, laptops at subsidised rates for students in government and aided colleges, a subsidised rice scheme at Rs.7 a kg for APL categories, establishment of a Farmers Redressal Welfare Adalat Board, interest-free loan for farmers for prompt repayment, a ship construction facility of international standards at Poovar, near the proposed Vizhinjam container terminal, to name a few. The manifesto seeks to take forward the UDF’s ‘Development and Care’ slogan of 2011 by promising jobs to 15-lakh young men and women in the next five years by implementing various development projects. With the State going through a very dry spell at present, the manifesto promises to provide drinking water to all families in urban and rural areas. The focus will be on the production side with hefty doses of subsidy being promised for various segments dependent on agriculture and allied sectors such as animal husbandry.
The manifesto has 32 subtitles covering infrastructure development, traditional industry, social welfare, energy, housing, coastal development, hill development, education, ST & SC development, backward and forward classes development, women empowerment, environment protection, and sanitation, to name some. The manifesto proposes the expeditious completion of several projects currently being implemented. The manifesto reiterates the UDF’s goal of total prohibition within 10 years and the steps it would take to achieve this, if it returns to power. In the education sector, it promises special package to raise the standard of school education and curriculum improvement, but the best part is the promise that the government will bear half of the interest burden as subsidy. The government will also bear the interest burden on education loans of students with top marks in Plus Two in case they get admission to government and aided professional colleges.