UDF promises homemaker pension, law to protect Sabarimala in Kerala

Congress-led alliance's 'People's Manifesto' also says it will provide five lakh homes for the poor and hike welfare pension; it also promises a host of sops to woo women voters

Ramesh Chennithala - The Federal
UDF Chairman, Ramesh Chennithala called the UDF manifesto the Bible, Quran and the Gita, which was drafted after detailed consultations with experts and stakeholders

The Congress-led United Democratic Alliance (UDF) in Kerala has released its ‘people’s manifesto’ ahead of the Assembly elections on April 6, promising ₹2,000 monthly pension to homemakers, five lakh homes for the poor and increasing welfare pensions to 3,000 a month.

The front has also promised a special law to protect the traditions of the Sabarimala temple and the faith of its devotees, and a Peace and Harmony department based on the Rajasthan model, if it is voted to power.

The LDF and the UDF have held power in the state alternately over the last four decades. In the 2016 Kerala assembly election, the LDF had won after winning a majority of 91 out of the 140 seats.

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The UDF, intent on wooing women voters, has assured a two-year age relaxation for mothers appearing for examinations for government jobs. Homemakers who are between 40-60 years, and do not come under the NYAY scheme, the minimum income guarantee programme launched by the Congress in 2019, will be entitled for the ₹2,000 monthly pension.

This is being done “as a token of support for the woman having sacrificed her income to look after the family”, said Shashi Tharoor, Congress MP.

“We are sending a signal to investors that we are open to businesses. There will be an Investor Protection Act. We will ban hartals and forced closures,” Tharoor also told reporters.

The UDF government also said they will revive the Light Metro projects for Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode as well. The other pledges include five kilo gram free rice for white ration card holders (those who are above poverty line), 6 lakh for Schedule Caste, Schedule Tribe and fishermen to build houses.

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It also promises a 6,000 pension per month for those poor families under Nyuntam Aay Yojana (Nyay). The UDF has also said that the government will begin ‘no bills’ hospitals. Legislation will also be brought in to revamp the Kerala State Public Service Commission to ensure 100 percent transparency and commitment towards the candidates.

The manifesto assures a host of schemes to help people tide over the COVID-19 crisis. The UDF promises to give financial Assistance for those who died of COVID-19, including Non-Resident Keralites and a stimulus package to revamp the state that has been impacted by the COVID-19. Students, who had to stop studying due to COVID-19 will be able to resume their education with assistance.

Fuel subsidy will be provided to one lakh unemployed women and men (50:50); while auto taxi workers will get a one time aid of 5,000. A special farm budget will be presented and the farm loans of up to 2 lakh before the 2018 floods of deserving farmers with less than five acres of farmland will be waived off.

Diesel, petrol and kerosene subsidies will be available for fisherfolk, while on days that the fisher folk cannot go out to the sea, a special income will be made available.

Chairman of the UDF, Ramesh Chennithala called the manifesto the Bible, Quran and the Gita, which was drafted after detailed consultations with experts and various sections of people in the state. The Congress led UDF and LDF face a growing challenge from the  Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is hoping to raise its vote share in this election.