Makkal Needhi Maiam, led by its founder Kamal Haasan, has begun its electoral campaign across Tamil Nadu and as part of its poll promises, has already released a seven point governance and economic agenda. Kamal Haasan, who was campaigning in Kancheepuram district on Monday, released the note which is aimed at 'reimagining Tamil Nadu' ahead of the Assembly elections next year. Amongst the promises made by MNM, is a salary for homemakers whose work is unrecognised, world class infrastructure and logistics facilities for agriculturalists and a ban on physical files in government offices.
The party's agenda to make homemakers a salaried class has drawn attention and given rise to many questions. In their agenda note, Makkal Needhi Maiam, says, "The MNM government will take steps to realize Bharatiyaarâ€™s dream of â€˜Pudhumai pennâ€™ through education, employment and entrepreneurship for women. Women will break through established glass ceilings by the equal opportunities provided to them by our MNM government. Homemakers will get their due recognition through payment for their work at home which hitherto has been unrecognised and unmonetized, thus raising the dignity of our womenfolk."
In short, the party looks to recognise housework as a salaried profession. Speaking to TNM, MNM leader CK Kumaravel points out that the contribution of homemakers needs to be acknowledged and recognised as they carry out multiple essential duties in their houses.
"Ninety percent of their work goes unnoticed despite it being a significant contribution. We still have to work out exactly what amount will be given to them as compensation but we are confident this can be done," he says. "Every year for Pongal, the AIADMK government gives families Rs 2,500 but this money is either spent as TASMACs or for other expenses by men. We are looking to directly pay women a monthly amount that they can save and use at a time of crisis," he adds.
MNM has further promised to provide each residence a computer with high speed internet.The party says internet will be declared as a basic human right. "The MNM government shall provide a computer along with high speed internet (100 mbps and above) through Optical Fibre Cable to each and every home, as a Common Property Resource, by implementing the BharatNet and TamilNet projects. This will be one of the highest investments in Human Resource Development anywhere in the world, and can bring huge and far-reaching transformational changes in rural families and societies. The internet will be declared as a basic human right," says the agenda.
The party has also promised to promote green industries and technologies to combat climate change and states that environmental management will be on the top agenda of the government.