YSRCP president and Leader of Opposition in Andhra Pradesh, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy, released the party’s manifesto from the party office at Tadepalli. The manifesto is a mix of populist schemes and tall promises, which Jagan hopes will help him get elected to power in the elections scheduled for April 11.
“The manifesto is welfare focused and aims to empower the marginalised sections of the society – women, farmers, daily wage workers, elderly, SCs, STs, BCs, minorities, etc,” the YSRCP stated in a press release.
The party also announced that their government would open a fund of Rs 1,150 crore for the 13 lakh victims of the AgriGold scam in the state.
For the agriculture sector, the YSRCP has promised ‘Rythu Bharosa’, an investment support of Rs 12,500 per annum, along with free crop insurance and interest-free loans.
However, while land-owning farmers can avail sops close to Rs 1 lakh per annum, tenant farmers would get only Rs 12,500 each year as financial assistance.
The YSRCP also assured that godowns, cold storages and food processing plants would be set up.
If voted to power, the party manifesto claims that most of its schemes would be women-centric. Besides Rs 15,000 per annum under ‘Amma Vodi’ to enable women to send their children to schools, the YSRCP also promised Rs 50,000 per annum for women under the Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas (DWCRA) programme under the ‘YSR Aasara’ scheme.
A financial assistance of Rs 75,000 for BC, SC, ST and minority women (over the age of 45) has also been promised by Jagan under the ‘YSR Cheyutha’ scheme, while the party has promised that the houses that are sanctioned under the YSR Housing scheme would be registered under the name of women in the household.
In the manifesto, Jagan promised that his government will address the issue of unemployment by providing jobs to 10 youth in every village at the village secretariat.
“In addition to that, around 3.5 lakh village and ward volunteers will receive Rs 5,000 per month as honorarium. The government will fill the 2.3 lakh government jobs that are presently vacant. For students, the government will provide complete fee reimbursement and an additional sum of Rs 20,000 per annum for food and accommodation expenses,” the YSRCP press release stated.
“Occupations facing troubles due to the poor state of the economy will also be provided assistance by the state – these include barbers, tailors, washer-men, weavers, hawkers, vendors, fishermen, and other caste-based professions,” the YSRCP said.
“To improve the plight of the elderly, their pensions will be increased to Rs 3,000 per month. For the welfare of the BC community, a separate BC fund will be created, with a budget of Rs 75,000 crore (over a period of 5 years). A similar welfare fund will be created for the Kapu community as well,” it added.
A day before releasing its manifesto, the YSRCP announced ‘Universal Health Cards’ that would allow free healthcare access to poor and middleclass families in the state.
“Any individual with an annual income of up to Rs 5,00,000 per annum can avail this card and its benefits. Several lakh individuals from poor and middleclass families will benefit from this and will be given Universal Health Cards to avail medical services for free,” the press release stated.
The scheme also finds a prominent place in the manifesto.
The YSRCP has already promised that it would actively work on closing down belt shops that sold illicit liquor, and also move ahead with prohibition of alcohol in three phases if voted to power.
The manifesto reiterates this claim and says that alcohol would only be available in posh restaurants and 5-star hotels.
Prohibition isn’t new to the state; alcohol was banned for a brief time during the tenure of NT Rama Rao. However, the TDP founder’s plans fell apart and the attempt at prohibition is often looked at as a failure. It remains to be seen if the YSRCP’s plan would be any different.