House, health, food for all, promises Chandy in manifesto

Thiruvananthapuram, April 20 (IANS) The Oommen Chandy-led United Democratic Front came out with its manifesto for the Kerala assembly elections, with the motto “house, health and food for all”.

The manifesto was released by Chief Minister Chandy in the presence of all the allies of the Congress-led UDF at the state Congress headquarters, a day after the Left opposition brought out its manifesto.

Kerala will elect 140 members to the legislative assembly on May 16.

Chandy said his government, which is completing five years in office, has seen revolutionary achievements in all sectors and was thus facing the upcoming polls with confidence.

The UDF’s most prominent poll promise is housing for all, health for all and food for all.

The manifesto lays stress on agriculture and promises interest-free loan to farmers who promptly repay previous farm loans.

It also promises to formulate an agricultural fund through ‘farm bumper lottery’ to give relief to farmers.

Special sops will be provided to rubber and cardamom farmers.

It promised an investment of Rs.1,000 crore to increase the present benchmark price of rubber of Rs.150 a kg and also to set up rubber-based industries in the public sector.

The UDF also promised that in every gram panchayat, the government will start 100 goat farms, 100 dairy farms, 100 pig farms and 100 poultry farms, which will create employment opportunities for one lakh rural youth and increase production of milk and meat.

The manifesto promises free tax holidays for promotion of family enterprises and self employment enterprises for five years.

It said it will set up start-up villages in each district for youth entrepreneurs and provide training for Class 10-pass students in mobile phone services.

To appease the large diaspora-supported population in the state, the manifesto promises employment opportunities like starting new enterprises for the diaspora who return from the Middle East.

A new health insurance scheme was also proposed for the diaspora who return on account of health issues. A monthly pension of Rs.1,000 will be provided to expatriates who suffer from serious ailments.

In the IT sector, the UDF proposes to increase IT exports from Kerala to Rs.1 lakh crore in five years besides providing interest free loans to youth entrepreneurs up to Rs.20 lakh.

In the education sector, special emphasis will be given to promote French, German, Persian and Arabic languages in higher education.

In the health sector, the UDF promised to provide free medicines to cancer and diabetic patients.

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