Unveiling its manifesto for the February 27 Assembly elections in the State, the Meghalaya Trinamool Congress today announced various welfare schemes through direct monthly cash assistance to unemployed youth, students, women and farmers.
Releasing the ‘Ten Pledges for Meghalaya’, Trinamool Congress national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee said, “Our mission in Meghalaya is to turn this beautiful State into a model State across all sectors. The healthcare and education system will be revamped. The economy will be boosted for growth. The civic infrastructure will be made available for all. Indigenous rights will be protected at all costs. And no decisions will be taken without people’s consent.”
He further assured that within 100 days of forming the government, the party will implement the ten pledges for Meghalaya.
“We don’t make empty promises. We have already factored in the question of money. The State has the money but the government does not have the intention to spend,” Banerjee said.
The ten pledges focus on key areas ignored by the current dispensation such as economy, youth, women empowerment, social security, farming and agriculture, healthcare, education, civic amenities, tourism, sports, music, and culture.
According to the party, the manifesto is completely realistic and the pledges “are based on exhaustive due diligence and the commitment to address the existing issues.”
Along with promising double-digit economic growth in the next five years to double the GDP size, the Trinamool Congress has also pledged to work on increasing the medium and small manufacturing units to four times its current annual growth and hit the 1.3 lakh figure. This will be achieved by adding 4,000 new MSMEs annually in the next five years.
In addition to creating three lakh jobs over the next five years, the party also said that the Meghalaya Youth Empowerment (MYE) scheme would provide financial assistance of Rs 1,000 per month (Rs 12,000 annually) to unemployed youth between the ages of 21-40. Launched on January 5, the scheme has secured over two lakh registrations in less than a month.
The manifesto also pledged to provide Rs 10,000 annually to farmers through the Farmers’ Assistance for Rural Meghalaya Scheme (FARMS).
The Trinamool Congress also pledged to provide one lakh laptops to all higher secondary and college-going students in the State to keep up with the current trend and facilitate digital education.
Reaffirming the party’s commitment to the empowerment of women, the manifesto said that the Meghalaya Financial Inclusion for Women Empowerment Scheme will be implemented under which women in all households in the state will receive Rs 1,000 per month (Rs 12,000 annually) as guaranteed income support.
The party has also promised that social welfare pensions will be increased to Rs 1,000 per month (Rs 12,000 annually). This, essentially, doubles the financial assistance to people with disabilities, single mothers, widows, and senior citizens. The current pension is at around Rs 500-550 per month.
The manifesto also envisaged a new social security scheme called Meghalaya UNITE (Meghalaya Unorganised Sector Training and Empowerment scheme) to train over 2.8 lakh unorganised sector workers and provide them with skill training, free healthcare, term life insurance, and provident fund benefits.
It also promised to engage and identify individuals in the tourism sector and formalise their services through government-registered job cards with a monthly honorarium of Rs 2,500. The plan would require Rs 75 crore annually.
To cover the cost of books and other necessities, the party has also promised Direct Benefit Transfers of Rs 1,200 annually to the families of all school-going children registered in government schools.
The party also promised to work towards building model schools in each block and doubling the number of seats for teacher training in the State.
In addition to education, jobs, and social security, the party also promised e-ration cards for all and resurvey in all districts to increase the number of PDS beneficiaries.
Promising dedicated interventions in the healthcare sector including maternal and child care centres in each block and the upgradation of existing PHCs and CHCs, the manifesto also announced a 25 per cent increase in healthcare coverage for senior citizens under Meghalaya Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS).
Strengthening civic amenities is also among the top priorities of the party. In addition to promising piped drinking water connections to all households, the Trinamool Congress also pledged to strengthen infrastructure to facilitate uninterrupted power supply.
The party has pledged to ensure that all 6,459 villages in Meghalaya are connected with black-topped motorable roads and to upgrade the major arterial roads to all-weather roads. The party also envisioned identifying, training, and promoting sports talent at the block levels.
The party also pledged to pay attention towards sports by setting up the State’s first Sports University along with a corpus of Rs 10 crores to assist the 22 registered State Sports Associations and all recognised sports clubs under them.