Free cell phones, free Wi-Fi, Amma banking cards and a phased prohibition between promises that still remain on paper
AIADMK Co-Coordinator and Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami has pledged six free LPG cylinders per year and has 1,500 per month housewives to focus on the ruling party's 2016 election manifesto.
The performance of the AIADMK government, in relation to the 2016 manifesto, is a mixed bag.
While it has implemented many promises and has also taken some measures beyond the manifesto, it has not acted on many others who then attracted widespread attention.
Removal of legal ban on Jallikattu in promises made, creation of Tamil chair at Harvard University, exemption of crop loans taken from cooperatives, target of cropped loan of ₹ 40,000 crore in five years, 100 free electricity for domestic consumers Up to unit, bi-monthly, and increase in free power supply up to 200 units for handloom weavers and 750 units for powerloom weavers, both bi-monthly.
As of February 2019, approximately 52 lakh farmers were given illustration to illustrate the benefit of crop loans worth 42,600 crore. More importantly, the government came in the second round of crop loan waiver, which was not mentioned in the manifesto.
The supply of free set-top boxes (STBs) was another assurance that attracted people. According to the government, 35.2 lakh standard definition (SD) STBs were distributed through local cable operators from September 2017 as part of a program of Tamil Nadu Arasu Cable TV Corporation. An important promise in the field of general administration was the creation of talukas and revenue divisions. Six districts, nine revenue boards and 32 taluks were established. The declaration stated, market guidelines regarding land were “rationalized” and the 33% reduction in rates came into force in June 2017.
AIADMK spokesperson said that in the water sector, the formation of the Cauvery Water Management Board and the Water Regulation Committee in 2018 was “definitely a high point”, besides work was started on the Indestructible-Athletic Water Recharge and Drinking Water Supply Scheme. . . More important was the ‘Kudimaramathu' scheme considered by Sri Palaniswami as one of the most important measures of his rule. It was taken on a large scale. Unlike the five medical colleges promised in the manifesto, the government opened 11.
The spokesperson said that 7.5% reservation for students in NEET-eligible government schools for admission to medical courses and 10.5% reservation for Vanniyars within the quota for most backward classes can be termed as a “bonus” of the current regime.
If the list of promises kept is long, the second is no less. Distribution of cell phones to ration card holders, phased prohibition, return to old pension scheme for government employees, provision of Pongal gift coupons for ration card holders, free Wi-Fi in public places, establishment of Ambedkar Foundation to propagate Ambedkar's ideals and ideas. And the establishment of Amma Banking Cards features prominently in the list of missed promises.
On the restoration of the old pension scheme to replace the current contributory pension scheme, a committee under the chairmanship of former IAS officer TS Sridhar was formed, and it gave a report which is yet to see the light of day. The DMK has been saying that it will restore the old pension scheme in the event of occupying power. There were differences within the government over the treatment of Pongal gift coupons – should it be an add-on item or a replacement for the existing scheme of free sari and dhoti. And this led to the proposal being abandoned.
For Amma banking cards, it was envisaged to create a bank on the lines of Mahila Bank and even NABARD was approached to provide consultancy reports. But after Jayalalithaa's death, there was not much progress, a former official said. Despite the establishment of medical colleges, critics say the government has failed to get exemptions from NEET for state students, another major issue being pursued by the opposition.
In the infrastructure sector, the proposal for an elevated highway between Meenambakkam and Chengalpattu has so far failed. The Global Investors Meet, which was to be held once in two years, has happened only once in the last five years. Issues such as Kacchethevu and the recovery of dual citizenship for refugees from Sri Lanka are still in the ideological phase.