AIADMK manifesto | Multiple avenues to boost State revenue, dual citizenship for Sri Lankan Tamils are among key proposals

AIADMK manifesto | Multiple avenues to boost State revenue, dual citizenship for Sri Lankan Tamils are among key proposals

Edappadi K Palaniswami, general secretary, AIADMK, releasing the party’s election manifesto at the party headquarters in Chennai on Friday, March 22, 2024
| Photo Credit: RAGHUNATHAN SR

The All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK)’s manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, released on Friday, listed a number of proposals to boost the revenue of States. 

Apart from a proposal to ensure that revenue earned from cess and surcharge is shared with States [a position taken by its arch rival and the ruling party in the State, the DMK], the principal Opposition party also wanted the merger of GST [Goods and Services Tax] compensation cess with the tax itself and the apportionment of 50% of collections under Income Tax with the respective States, as done in the case of Central GST and State GST. At present, the levy of cess is in force till 2026 to to repay the loans taken during the COVID-19 years to make up for the shortfall in revenue collection.

Released by the party’s general secretary Edappadi K. Palaniswami, the manifesto recommended that States be allowed to borrow, for development projects, from external agencies without the stipulation of a counter-guarantee from the Union government. It also favoured the cost-sharing pattern of Centrally-sponsored schemes on the ratio of 75:25 instead of the existing 60:40. 

The party also urged the Central government to increase the allotment of cooking gas cylinders and the provision of funds under the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Prime Minister’s scheme for housing) for the State as this had not been revised for years. The unit cost of the housing scheme should be increased to ₹5 lakh from the present ₹2.7 lakh.  Also, the amount of pension given under social security schemes should be increased in line with the rate of inflation, the manifesto said. 

As sought by the DMK, the AIADMK too wanted the Centre to consult Chief Ministers of States concerned at the time of appointment of Governors; establish a branch of the Supreme Court in Chennai, Statehood for Puducherry and provide 33% quota for women in legislature. The winter session of Parliament should be conducted in Chennai and the nomenclature for new criminal laws should be restored to English instead of Hindi, the manifesto said.

As regards petrol, diesel and cooking gas cylinders, the party suggested that the Centre take over the task of determining the prices for essential commodities and lower the prices. It wanted the payment under the scheme, Magalir Urimai Thogai (a scheme similar to the basic income scheme for women in T.N.) to be hiked to ​​₹3,000 per month. In the case of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, daily wages should be increased to ₹450 and linked to the consumer price index.

In respect of Sri Lankan Tamils living in the State, the party reiterated its stand of dual citizenship. It called for coverage of Lankan Tamils and Muslims under the ambit of the Citizenship Amendment Act.  Asked whether the Union government that did not allow for dual citizenship for Indian citizens, would do it for Sri Lankan Tamils, Mr Palaniswami replied: “We will press for this.”

The AIADMK also sought the reinstatement of 50% concession on long-distance train fares for senior citizens and journalists; medical  admission based on marks in higher secondary examinations instead of performance in the National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) and the provision of separate lanes on National and State highways for two-wheelers. In the case of loanees who were not in a position to repay educational loans, the Union government should waive these loans. Another new education policy should be formulated in tune with views of States, in place of the National Education Policy, 2020. 

In respect of  those receiving pensions through the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO), the party pointed out that for over 10 years, the amount of pension was not revised beyond ₹3,000 per month. This should be linked to the cost of index of living. 

The amount paid monthly under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN), a Central Sector Scheme meant for all cultivable land-holding farmers, should be revised to ₹ 12,000 from ₹6,000. Prices of paddy and sugarcane should be determined at ₹5,000 per quintal and  ₹6,000 per tonne respectively. The farmers’ insurance scheme should be run by the Central government, and not private insurance firms, the manifesto said.

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