TTV Dhinakaran’s Amma Makkal Munnetra Kazhagam (AMMK) party released its election manifesto on March 13, Saturday, for the upcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. AMMK’s key focus areas are employment and farmer schemes, in addition to bringing back the schemes introduced during Jayalalaithaa’s rule. A separate department for filing workplace sexual harassment complaint by women cops, renaming the East Coast Road (ECR) after Jayalalithaa, no new distilleries, loans for women and youth self-help groups etc find a mention in the manifesto. Among the many points discussed are expansion of Amma canteens, a new organisation to popularise Tamil language, in addition to door-step distribution of ration for cardholders at predetermined dates and Rs 100 subsidy in gas cylinders. It also has plans for providing jobs for one member of every household. The party has promised several welfare schemes for unorganised sector workers including one, to provide a loan of Rs 25,000 for street vendors and pedestrians. The party is mulling to give priority to people of Tamil Nadu in the workplace by enacting a legislation like Maharashtra and Gujarat to give 85% quota in government jobs to Tamil people. Elections to the Tamil Nadu Assembly will be held on April 6 and the counting of votes will take place on May 2. Here are some of the highlights from the manifesto > Governance, industries: > A policy decision will be taken not to permit any new distilleries or breweries. Steps will also be taken to close down existing units in a phased manner. > Ration will be distributed at the doorsteps of the card holders on predetermined dates. New branches of ‘Amudham’ supermarkets and ‘Pannaipasumai’ shops will be opened > To ensure one job for every household, self-sustaining industries will be established and locals will be employed. In addition to minimum income as wages, they will also become shareholders in those units. > Steps will be taken to reduce the high rate of GST on machinery products from 18% to 5%. > Every district will have at least one industrial estate and a township linked to it. These estates will be established as special investment zones. Sixty-day approval of single-window schemes for those keen to start new industrial units in Tamil Nadu. > Conflicted developmental projects: > Proposed Enayam port project in Kanyakumari, that will affect lives and livelihood, will not be approved. > Independent authority to go over maintenance and safety measures at Kudankulam nuclear power plant. AMMK will also raise its voice for the dropping of the expansion plan of Kudankulam plant. > Cases against all those who participated in Kudankulam protests, Tuticorin Sterlite factory protests, Kathiramangalam methane project protests, protests against high tension power lines and GAIL pipeline projects will be withdrawn. > One Assembly seat for a population of up to two lakh people. > Bringing back Legislative Council, creation of new panchayats > For farmers: > The AMMK said that it will not allow any project that will affect agriculture. > Minimum Support Price for paddy up to Rs 3,000 per quintal and Rs 4,000 per tonne for sugarcane. > Pending dues to farmers from cooperative and private sugar mills will be cleared forthwith and future payments will be assured to be paid in a time bound manner. > A dam across Paalaru and a second dam in Mullaperiyar will not be permitted in any situation. > Linking of rivers: > Definite efforts to link the Godavari, Krishna and Cauvery Rivers of the southern states. > Efforts will be taken to link the Tamirabarani - Karumeniaaru - Nambiaaru rivers. Efforts will also be taken for the linking of six rivers -- Cauvery, Agniaaru, Thenvallaru, Manimuthar, Vaigai, and Gundaaru -- under the Cauvery-Vaigai-Gundaaru scheme. > Paandiaaru - Punnambula linking plan will be executed to benefit the Athikadavu - Avinashi Scheme. > Education: > All vacant posts of government employees and teachers will be filled and priority will be given to part time teachers, computer trainers, physical education, music and art teachers while filling the existing vacant posts. > The old pension scheme will be implemented for government employees. . > Women Welfare: > AMMK will work for providing 33% reservation for women in Parliament and state legislatures. > Girl students pursuing their studies from Class 6 onwards till the post graduate level will be provided free sanitary napkins. > To make these sanitary napkins, at least 10 centres under each panchayat union will be involved and women self help groups will be given necessary training. > Fixed deposit of Rs 50,000 each for the first two girl children belonging to below poverty line families. > Additional special leave every month for working women. > Financial support for women under Moovalur Ramamirtham scheme and Dr Dharmambal widow rehabilitation scheme to be increased to Rs 50,000, from Rs 25,000 at present, besides the 8-gram gold ‘Thaali’ chain for women who have studied up to Class 10. For women who have completed graduation or diploma, the cash support will be enhanced to Rs 1 lakh from Rs 50,000 at present, besides the 8-gram gold ‘Thaali’ chain. > Gas cylinders at a monthly subsidy of Rs 100 for poor and middle class families. > Women and youth self help groups (SHGs) will be given an interest free loan of Rs 1 lakh. > The age limit for all government jobs will be increased. District Employment Offices will be improved to facilitate employment of youngsters in private sectors too. One crore youngsters will be provided employment through this initiative in five years. > Men up to the age of 45 years will be offered subsidy for buying a two-wheeler, with preference to the employed. > Amma rural bank in all panchayat unions of the state. Rural women and youth will be given small trade loan amounts from a minimum of Rs 50,000 to a maximum of Rs 2 lakh. The beneficiary will have to pay 1/5th of the loan amount as advance. > Welfare for the elderly: > 50% concession in state transport express buses for senior citizens, as offered to them by the Indian Railways. > Rs 1,000 ex-gratia payment being made currently will be raised to Rs 2,000 and delivered to their door-step. > For persons with disabilities: > 3% reservation for persons with disabilities in local self-government bodies > The monthly financial support for people with physical disabilities will be increased to Rs 2,000 from the present Rs 1,500. For those whose condition is severe and need the help of an assistant, the financial support to them will be increased to Rs 1,500 from the present Rs 1,000. > Welfare for minorities: > Reservation for Muslims in Tamil Nadu to be raised by 5%. > Medical college for the benefit of the Muslim community > Release of Rajiv Gandhi convicts and life-convict Muslim prisoners eligible for long-delayed release. > For the police: > From changing colour of police uniform to increasing the number of police personnel and police stations, AMMK plans on revamping the police department. > To address sexual harassment complaints by women police, a separate division headed by an IG rank women police official will be established. > Women police will not be deployed on VVIP convoy routes > Railways, roadways: > Dindigul - Sabarimala railway line project to be taken up. > Railways zonal office with Coimbatore as Head Quarters. > Slashing of metro fares, expanding Chennai metro line upto Vandalur and Metro rail services to cities like Coimbatore, Tiruchy and Madurai. > Renaming of the East Coast Road (ECR) from Thiruvanmiyur to Kanyakumari after Jayalalithaa. > Welfare of fishermen: > AMMK has promised to construct cold storage facilities at six big fishery harbors and 36 fish landing decks and has promised to increase the financial assistance provided to fishermen during the ‘fishing ban’ period to Rs 5,000. > Welfare of Weavers: > AMMK will provide free power supply to all handloom weavers and powerloom weavers will get up to 1,000 units cost free power. > Labour Welfare: > AMMK has promised to ensure a subsidy of Rs 25,000 to auto drivers, who are keen to buy their auto rickshaws and has assured to take steps to introduce robotic machines for scavenging works and to prevent the use of human labour. > AMMK has promised to pay a financial relief of Rs 5,000 for salt pan workers during the monsoon period. The party has also assured to create group schemes to revive the defunct small and micro units. > Unorganised workers: > The party will simplify procedures to enable roadside vendors and pedestrian vendors to avail interest free loans of up to Rs 25,000. They will give Rs 4,000 as monthly assistance to workers belonging to unorganised sector who crossed 60 years of age and this will be given to both men and women. > Justice without delays: AMMK said that it will use artificial intelligence technology to reduce the huge pile up of cases in courts. In the first phase, the technology will be deployed to handle civil disputes. By adopting this method, which is already in use in a few European countries and China, the party is aiming to make Tamil Nadu the first state in India to introduce the system that will prevent prolonging of even ordinary cases for years. > Measures to safeguard the environment: > AMMK will introduce a scheme – ‘A Green Tamil Nadu in Five Years’ – which will be implemented through local bodies.The scheme will focus on growing micro forests on wastelands, with assistance from non-governmental organizations. > Improving Schools and Colleges: > AMMK will ensure that all schools in Tamil Nadu, particularly those in the rural areas will have modernised class rooms, computers with training facilities, arrangements for proper physical education, first aid kit, hygienic toilets and protective surrounding walls. To ensure that rural area girls from poor families complete their higher education without any hindrance, AMMK will introduce an assistance of Rs 10,000 per year in two installments until they complete their undergraduate course. > Amma Academy: > AMMK will introduce ‘Amma Academy’, which will offer free training to students and youngsters to appear for various competitive examinations including civil services (IAS), central undertakings including Railways and TNPSC. > Employment Opportunities: > Just like states including Maharashtra, Karnataka and Gujarat who have enacted laws to the effect that a minimum of 85% of government jobs should be for the citizens of their respective state, the AMMK will enact a law on a similar basis to establish the rights of Tamils in Tamil Nadu. >Welfare of journalists: > AMMK will establish housing facilities for journalists in all districts and increase the lump sum given to journalists when they die while in service to Rs 5 lakh.