Taking a cue from political parties in neighbouring Tamil Nadu in offering freebies, the manifesto of the ruling Congress in Puducherry for the April 13 assembly polls has promised free mobile phones for BPL families.
The manifesto said poorer sections would find mobile phones helpful during emergency and a family whose annual income is less than Rs 75,000 would be eligible for the freebie.
The 16-page manifesto released by PCC leader A V Subramanian in presence of Union minister V Narayanasamy and chief minister V Vaithilingam promised welfare schemes for all sections of people including freedom fighters and senior citizens.
Students selected for medical course through centralised admission under government quota would be provided an annual assistance of Rs two lakhs while an engineering student would be granted every year Rs 40,000 to meet the education expenditure.
A 50% subsidy on the price of laptop would be granted to poor college students.
BPL families would be issued 35 kg free rice every month instead of 25 kg disbursed now. Similarly for APL families ten kg rice and ten kg wheat would be disbursed at Re 1 a kilo.
The party also promised that the Centre would be urged to grant special category status to Puducherry and raise the strength of the Assembly from present 30 members to 40.
Emergency Ambulance 108 service would be introduced in the whole of the Union territory. The procurement price of milk would be fixed at Rs 24 a litre. The monthly pension of Rs 750 now available for the aged, widows and destitute women would be raised to Rs 1000.
A survey would be conducted to identify the number of unemployed youth and an unemployed member from each family would be provided jobs. A ban on plastic materials and their use would be introduced.
A separate help desk would be put in place to attract investment by non resident Indians in Puducherry industrial sector. Housing subsidy to Adi Dravidar families would be raised from Rs two lakh to Rs four lakh.
The manifesto also promised setting up of a Lokayukta to prevent corruption among government employees.
It also promised several welfare measures for minorities, downtrodden, senior citizens and also the differently abled. A balanced development of all the four regions of the Union Territory was also promised.
Congress is contesting polls in alliance with DMK and has fielded candidates in 17 of the 30 seats.