Trinamool promises to revoke border MoU

Three lakh jobs, monthly allowance for unemployed youth, laptops for students, party’s manifesto has it all

SHILLONG, Jan 24: From three lakh jobs, monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 to every unemployed youth, 1 lakh laptops to all higher secondary and college-going students, annual financial assistance of Rs 10,000 to farmers to a sports university, the Trinamool Congress’ election manifesto for Meghalaya has it all.
The manifesto, containing ten pledges, was released by party’s national secretary Abhishek Banerjee in the presence of leaders, including party’s state president Charles Pyngrope and former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma, in Shillong on Tuesday.
A key promise is that the party, if voted to power, will revoke the memorandum of understanding (MoU), signed between Meghalaya and Assam governments to resolve their border disputes in six of the 12 friction points, and set up police check posts at all strategic border areas.
The MoU, signed on March 29 last year, had left a section of the villagers enraged and they vented their ire out in the open.
There was a demand in the state to revisit the agreement but the Conrad K Sangma government remained unfazed all along.
The party pledged to set up an expert committee to study and resolve the demand for implementation of the Inner Line Permit (ILP) in Meghalaya.
The TMC pledged effective and immediate implementation of the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act (MRSSA), 2016 across the state to ensure a comprehensive registry of all legal tenants.
Further, it promised the introduction of a holistic Village Administration Bill in consultation with the autonomous district councils and traditional headmen to uphold and protect the traditional institutions and a private members’ bill in the Parliament for immediate recognition of the Khasi and Garo languages through their inclusion in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.
The party also promised a double-digit economic growth in the next 5 years to double the GDP size and ensure a poverty-free Meghalaya, and resume mining by formulating a scientific and sustainable mining policy to ensure no individual’s livelihood is endangered.
On unemployment, it pledged to create 3 lakh jobs over the next 5 years and offer a monthly allowance of Rs 1,000 to every unemployed youth between the ages of 21 and 40 years under the Meghalaya Youth Empowerment scheme. It also promised to provide 1 lakh laptops to all higher secondary and college-going students to facilitate digital education.
The TMC will identify all individuals engaged in the tourism sector, formalise their services through government-registered job cards and provide a monthly honorarium of Rs 2,500. It has also promised to increase all social welfare pensions to Rs 1,000 per month and double the financial assistance to PWD, single mothers, widows and senior citizens.
Under a social security scheme called Meghalaya UNITE (Meghalaya Unorganised Sector Training and Empowerment), the party promised to provide skills training, free healthcare, term life insurance and provident fund benefits to all the 2.8 lakh unorganized sector workers in the state.
According to the manifesto, there will be a 25% increase in grants for healthcare, education assistance, death benefit, marriage assistance and disability pension to workers under the Meghalaya Building and Construction Workers’ Welfare Board and E-ration cards for all and resurvey in all districts to increase the number of beneficiaries for ensuring every deserving household receives the PDS benefit.
On the farm sector, the TMC pledged a new FARM (Farmers’ Assistance for Rural Meghalaya) scheme and FARM centres in all districts for one stop assistance to farmers from production to sales.
On the health care sector, the party pledged to bridge shortage of specialists, staff and equipment at all PHCs and CHCs and establish new medical colleges to ensure quality tertiary healthcare facilities across the state.
It also promised 25% increase in healthcare cover for senior citizens under the Meghalaya Health Insurance Scheme (MHIS) and 60 medical shops, 1 in each block, to provide medicines at 20% subsidy.
According to the TMC, there will be direct benefit transfers of Rs 1,200 annually to the families of all school-going children registered in government-run schools to cover the cost of books and allied material. Further, it promised a model school in each block, immediate upgradation of school infrastructure in all districts and doubling the number of seats for teacher training.
On civic amenities, the party promised to revive and overhaul the MeECL to create resilient infrastructure for uninterrupted power supply to all households. It committed that all 6,459 villages in the state will be connected with black-topped motorable roads and that all major arterial roads upgraded to all-weather roads.
The party promised that the Shillong Ring Road Project (connecting the Eastern and Western Bypass) will be completed on mission mode to ease traffic snarls. Under Mission Sports, it will identify, train and promote talents at the block level and set up a state-of-the-art multi-purpose stadium in each district.
The party also promised a sports university and a corpus of Rs 10 crore to assist the 22 registered State Sports Associations and all recognised sports clubs under them.
Releasing “TMC’s 10 Pledges For Meghalaya”, Banerjee said the party’s mission in Meghalaya is to turn the beautiful state into a model state across all sectors.
“The healthcare and education system will be revamped. The economy will be boosted. 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 said.
He denied that the implementation of the pledges will increase the state’s debt stating that the financial implications will not be even 2-3% of the budget.
“You need only an honest intent to work for the people,” he said.
Responding to a pointed query on the ILP, Banerjee said ILP is a sensitive issue and the TMC would take all the stakeholders, their feedback and suggestion into consideration.
“We will have consultations with each and every resident of the state and then come to a conclusion and do what is in the best interest of the state, Banerjee said.

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