DMK poll manifesto promises to abolish NEET, slash fuel prices in Tamil Nadu
Tamil Nadu’s opposition party Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) on Saturday released its manifesto for the upcoming assembly elections and promised to reduce fuel prices, bring in legislation to abolish medical exam National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) and provide 75% reservation in jobs for natives among other sops.
As the DMK’s leader MK Stalin released the poll promises, he said the party will bring down petrol and diesel rates by ₹5 per litre and ₹4 per litre respectively and the price of Aavin milk by ₹3 per litre if it wins the assembly polls scheduled for April 6 in Tamil Nadu. Stalin also said the DMK will provide ₹100 subsidy per LPG cylinder.
The DMK, which is fighting the polls in alliance with the Congress, the Left, Marumalarchi Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (MDMK), and Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), said that it would ask the commission probing former chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s death to fasten the process. According to the manifesto, the party will also assign a special court to prosecute corrupt ministers of the ruling All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).
It plans to grant 12-month maternity leave and has also promised ₹4,000 aid for those whose livelihoods were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. The DMK has promised to increase the quota for women in government jobs from 30 to 40%. Pregnant women will be medical and financial aid and 32 lakh widows, single women above 50 years of age, differently-abled and Sri Lankan refugees will be given a ₹1500 payout. If the DMK-led alliance comes to power in the southern state, it will also ensure preference is given to first-generation graduates in government jobs.
In the education sector, the DMK promised to waive off loans of students aged below 30 years of age. It will bring education back into the state list and also make Tamil compulsory up to Class 8. The party will provide milk to government school students in the morning and also give free sanitary napkins for school and college students. If the DMK forms the government, it will approach the Centre to make Thirukural, a Tamil classic of short couplets, a national textbook. It also plans to provide free tablets with internet data to students of government schools and colleges.
The DMK said it would ensure drinking water supply through pipes and taps instead of lorries in Chennai. It will also bring the electricity bill under a monthly cycle and promised that property tax will not be increased until the economy is back on track.
Other promises of Stalin’s party for Tamil Nadu are a live telecast of assembly proceedings, ₹1,000 cr for the renovation of temples, and ₹200 crore for churches and mosques, and ₹25,000 each for one lakh people who undertake Hindu spiritual tourism. It will also establish ‘Kalaignar Unavagam’, i.e. canteens named after Karunanidhi.
The DMK will also take steps to get Indian citizenship for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees, it said in its manifesto adding that a separate ministry will be formed to implement more than 500 schemes presented in the election manifesto.
Elections in Tamil Nadu will be held in a single phase and the votes will be counted on May 2.