Election 2021: While West Bengal announced a hike in minimum wages, Tamil Nadu announced reservation and loan waivers, Assam distributed lakhs of rupees to landless families as Kerala offered free Covid test.
With poll mathematics in mind, the ruling governments in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala rushed to announce welfare schemes just ahead of the presser by the Election Commission. (Agencies)
When around 11 am yesterday (February 26, 2021), the Election Commission of India informed that it would be announcing poll dates for four state assemblies and one union territory, it was known to all that the Model Code of Conduct will kick in immediately with the announcement. And once the Model Code of Conduct kicks in, ruling parties are barred from announcing any welfare measures that come into effect with the notification. With poll mathematics in mind, the ruling governments in two big states, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, rushed to announce welfare schemes just ahead of the presser by the Election Commission. Even, the Puducherry LG did not shy away from offering relief from soaring petrol and diesel prices.
West Bengal Chief Minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee announced a hike in minimum wages, a move that will benefit around 56,500 workers. Banerjee announced at 3.27 pm on Twitter. “I am pleased to announce a HIKE in the wages of daily wage workers under WB Urban Employment Scheme: > To ?202 per day from ?144 earlier for unskilled labour; > To ?303 from ?172 earlier for semi-skilled; > ?404 for skilled labour (new category introduced),” she tweeted.
In another tweet, she said that the wages are in parity with rural workers’ enhanced pay. “A total of 56,500 workers (40,500 unskilled, 8000 semi-skilled, 8000 skilled) will benefit from this. These wages are in parity with rural workers’ enhanced pay (MNREGA unskilled & semi-skilled). Budget provision for this step has been made available for both FY21 & FY22,” said Banerjee.
Tamil Nadu CM Edappadi K Palaniswami went a step ahead. The state Assembly passed a Bill to provide 10.5 per cent special reservation to the Vanniyar community in educational institutions and in government appointments in the state. The Palaniswami government said the reservation will be temporary for six months and reworked according to the caste-based census.
The Tamil Nadu CM also announced gold loan waivers. K Palaniswami announced that loans availed from cooperative societies by pledging jewellery up to six sovereigns and pending loans of poor women members of Self Help Groups in co-operative banks and societies would be waived.
"கூட்டுறவு வங்கிகளில் விவசாயிகள், ஏழை எளிய மக்கள் 6 சவரன் வரை நகைகள் வைத்து பெற்ற கடன்கள் தள்ளுபடி" செய்யப்படுகிறது. pic.twitter.com/leKIIYz50Y
Palaniswami told reporters that be it crop loans waiver of Rs 12,110 crore for 14.43 lakh farmers or jewel loans waiver for farmers and poor, these decisions have been taken with the welfare of people in mind.
In Puducherry, Lieutenant Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan announced a two per cent reduction in Value Added Tax (VAT) on petrol and diesel. The announcement will bring down the fuel prices by Rs 1.40.
Puducherry Lt Governor announces a 2% reduction in VAT (Value Added Tax) on petrol and diesel in the union territory
In Assam, Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal transferred Rs 1 lakh each to 1487 landless families of Laika and Dodhia in Dibru Saikhowa National Park through DBT, keeping with his previous announcement. Sonowal also handed over appointment letters to 737 candidates for different government jobs. In another move, star sprinter Hima Das was inducted into the Assam Police as a Deputy Superintendent of Police in the presence of CM Sonowal.
At the distribution of appointment letters & inaguration of major infra projects for the power sector of Assam. https://t.co/MaaqkwNOUN
Hours before the announcement of the assembly election schedule, CM Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government announced a free RT-PCR test for expatriates. The CM also announced to provide kerosene oil to fishermen at a subsidized price of Rs 25 per litre from next month onwards. In a move to lure government employees’ votes, the DA arrears for around 70,000 employees and pensioners of Kerala State Transport Corporation, were also cleared yesterday. The arrears were unpaid since 2016.