For once, both the rival Dravidian majors parties — the AIADMK and DMK — found themselves on the same page on many issues as they released their manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls on Tuesday.
In their manifestos, both the parties have said that they would urge the Centre to abolish toll collection on National Highways; implement quota in private sector; scrap the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for medical admissions; move education from the Concurrent List to the State List; and work towards the linking of rivers.
The AIADMK said it will urge the Centre to take away the price-fixing power of the consortium of oil-producing companies and ensure that a people-friendly pricing policy is implemented directly to keep the prices of all commodities under control. It will also urge the Centre to implement special schemes to mitigate the adverse impact of the recession on the agriculture, industry and services sectors.
The party also promised a national poverty eradication initiative that will be named after former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa. “We would vigorously pursue the Amma National Poverty Eradication Initiative,” AIADMK coordinator and Tamil Nadu Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam told newspersons. The party considers a direct monthly transfer of ₹1,500 to the targeted population comprising the poor and the deprived a basic requirement to address the crippling issue of dehumanising poverty, the manifesto said.
The AIADMK will also urge the Centre not to bring any amendments to the Constitution for a Uniform Civil Code that will adversely affect the religious rights of minorities, the manifesto said.
The party will push for the immediate implementation of the Godhavari-Cauvery river-linking scheme for the benefit of farmers and increased rural GDP of Tamil Nadu. The party will insist that the energy generated in the State through Central power projects at Kalpakkam, Koodankulam and Neyveli be first distributed for the exclusive use of Tamil Nadu.
Equitable fund allocation
In its manifesto, the DMK said that the party would revert to the administered-price mechanism to regulate the prices of fuel and LPG. It will also do away with direct cash transfer of subsidy for LPG and reduce the price of cylinders. The party would urge the Centre to increase the income-tax exemption limit to ₹8 lakh, formulate a separate budget for agriculture and link South Indian rivers. Performance and equity should be the basis of Central fund allocation to States and 60 per cent of the Centre’s total tax revenue should be shared with States, the manifesto said. The State goes to polls in a single phase on April 18.
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