Oil and gas pricing to be reviewed: AIADMK manifesto

Chennai, Feb 25: The AIADMK’s poll manifesto released by its general secretary and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa here Tuesday has a mix of welfare and hard economic measures underscoring her national ambitions.

The party has promised replacement of current food security scheme with universal public distribution scheme; increasing supply of subsidised domestic gas cylinders; hiking individual income tax limit to Rs.500,000; review of oil and gas pricing mechanism; rescinding foreign direct investment (FDI) in retail; expanding at the national level Tamil Nadu’s welfare measures for women; nationalisation and interlinking of rivers; and non-divestment by government, among others.

The party also promised implementing some of the welfare measures of the state at the national level.

“We have spelt out many policies and promises to implement many schemes and aims not only for the development of Tamil Nadu but also for the progress of the entire nation,” she told reporters.

The 45-page manifesto booklet has two types of poll promises – one for the nation and the other for Tamil Nadu – though there are overlaps.

Terming the centre’s food security scheme as half-baked, AIADMK promised to take measures to replace it with a Universal Public Distribution System, which will benefit all the people of the states that are already implementing such a scheme.

The party also promised to follow the policy of secularism and social justice. The party said based on the social structure prevailing in each state, “action will be taken to implement reservation in other states”.

On the issue of disinvestment, AIADMK said it will ensure there is no divestment of shares in public sector undertakings. The party said it would work towards completely stopping the process of privatisation.

On foreign policy, the party said long standing border disputes with neighbouring countries should be resolved.

“The AIADMK will work to secure a permanent seat for India in the United Nations Security Council. The foreign policy of the country should not hurt the interests of the states in the country. Hence, the interests of the states will be kept in mind while formulating the foreign policy,” the party said.

The party also promised to change the oil and gas pricing mechanism and withdraw the “authority given to oil marketing companies to determine the prices of petrol and diesel”.

“Action will be taken to determine the direct two-way exchange rate between the currency of different countries and the Indian rupee, i.e. a currency swap arrangement will be put in place,” it said.

“A separate fund will be established to insulate and hedge the impact of variations of exchange rate on the price of petroleum products and thereby protect the common public from adverse price shocks,” the party said.

According to AIADMK, action will be taken to maintain the price level of oil and domestic gas while the number of subsidised gas cylinders would be increased. The party also said it would ensure fair prices for natural resources.

The party also promised to take action to modify the coal mining policy to ensure that State Public Enterprises are able to obtain coal at lower prices and at the same time the revenue to the central government is increased.

The AIADMK also spoke of bringing back to India black money lying in foreign banks when it is part of the new central government.

Referring to the health insurance scheme implemented in Tamil Nadu, the AIADMK has promised similar scheme on a nationwide basis.

The party also said the domestic industries should be protected so that it can be competitive internationally. The export-import policy should reduce imports while exports are enhanced so that inflation could be combated.

On the Cauvery river water issue, the party promised to set up the Cauvery Management Board.

The party reiterated its stand on the Sri Lankan Tamils issue. The party said it is determined to ensure that punishment is given through the International Court of Justice to all those who committed war crimes against the Tamil minorities during the internal strife in Sri Lanka, which was against international regulations.

“The AIADMK is also determined to move the UN to take action and render justice to the Tamils in Sri Lanka and for holding a referendum amongst Tamils in Sri Lanka and displaced Sri Lankan Tamils across the world for formation of a separate Eelam,” the manifesto said.

IANS