5 L Jobs a Yr, Youth Credit Cards: Mamata Releases TMC Manifesto

“This is not a political manifesto, it is a development-oriented manifesto,” Mamata Banerjee said. 

West Bengal
3 min read
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee released the Trinamool Congress’ manifesto on Wednesday, 17 March. Image used for representation. 

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee released the Trinamool Congress' manifesto on Wednesday, 17 March, just 10 days before the start of polling for the eight-phase elections in the state.

"This is not a political manifesto, it is a development-oriented manifesto. This a manifesto of the people, for the people, and by the people," the TMC supremo was quoted as saying at the briefing.

In a tweet, she said, "I humbly present my 10 'Ongikars' (promises) to build a stronger & more prosperous Bengal so that the wheels of development keep moving forward in the third term of our government. The aim is just one, to sustain Bengal as one of the leading states in the country."

Economic Doles For SC/ST Youth

The promises have been made across 10 areas, including economy, social justice and security, youth, food for all, farming and agriculture, industries, health, education, housing, and electricity, roads and water.

The promises include creating 5 lakh jobs per year to reduce the unemployment rate by half, and making the state the fifth-largest economy.

The manifesto also promises a scheme “to ensure basic income support to female heads of 1.6 crore households of Bengal”, with a support of Rs 6,000 annually (Rs 500 monthly) to families belonging to general category, and Rs 12,000 annually (Rs 1,000 monthly) to families belonging to SC/ST category.

Student credit cards were also announced for eligible students with a credit limit of up to Rs 10 lakh, at an interest of 4 percent.

The focus on women, SC/STs and the youth show the party's three main focus area this election. While the women vote has been one of the party's strongholds, the SC/ST areas of Junglemahal and the urban youth voted largely with the BJP in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

Ration at Doorstep, Farmer Support

Mamata Banerjee, under the Bengal government's existing Khadya Sathi scheme, announced doorstep delivery of monthly ration to 1.5 crore households in the state if voted to power.

The party further promised to extend the "Maa canteen" scheme, that it had started just a few months prior. The scheme would be extended to 50 cities and 75 crore subsidised meals will be provided at the rate of Rs 5 per meal, the party said.

Keeping with the party and Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s support to nationwide farmers’ movement, support of 10,000 per acre to 68 lakh small and marginal farmers were announced under the existing Krishak Bandhu scheme.

Industry, Health, Education, Housing

In terms of industry, the party promised to add 10 lakh MSMEs every year to increase the total number of functional MSMEs to the state, to 1.5 crores. Further, it promised that 2,000 big industrial units will be added over the next 5 years. It also promised to bring in Rs 5 lakh crore industrial investment.

After coming under criticism for its handling of the initial days of the coronavirus pandemic, the party announced that the spending on health will be doubled- from 0.83 percent of the state GDP to 1.5 percent of the state GDP.

Number of doctors, nurses and paramedics were also promised to be doubled.

Similarly, an increase in spending on education was also promised from 2.7 percent to four percent of the state GDP.

For each block in the state, one model residential school is also promised.

For housing, the party promised to reduce the number of kutcha houses in the state to less than one percent in the next five years.

Piped drinking water and functional drainage systems have also been promised for all households.

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