Shiromani Akali Dal manifesto promises farm debt waiver for small farmers

The 117-assembly constituencies in Punjab will witness a three-way contest between the ruling SAD-BJP alliance, the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party on February 4.

Shiromani Akali Dal manifesto promises farm debt waiver for small farmers

Ruling Shiromani Akali Dal on Tuesday released its election manifesto promising farm debt waiver for small farmers, 20 lakh jobs for youth, mega complexes for industry and aid to the poor.

The 'vision document' was released by Punjab's Deputy Chief Minister and SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal, with the catchline 'jo keha so kar vikhaya' (fulfilled what was promised).

"We have delivered what we have promised earlier be it making the Punjab power surplus, introducing unique welfare schemes like aata-daal and Shagun, to providing 100 per cent water and sewerage facilities in 165 towns across the state."


"Now we will do the same in all 12,000 villages besides making cemented streets and putting up solar lights. We are similarly committed to delivering on the promises made today," Badal said on the occasion.

A new initiative to give 5 kg sugar at the rate of Rs 10 per kg and 2 kg ghee for Rs 25 per kg would be implemented, Badal said. Free power and other facilities being given to farm sector will continue, he added.

Badal announced special schemes for farmers and said the SAD-BJP alliance was committed to waiving of farm debts of all small farmers.

"All small farmers will also be eligible for a Rs two lakh interest-free agriculture crop loan. Besides, the government will provide tubewell to all farmers irrespective of the land holding, and free and regular ten-hour daytime power supply for farm operations," he said.

The alliance government will also facilitate 50,000 youth to acquire taxis without down payment and soft loans. "We will give government employment and also create jobs in tourism and industrial sectors to fulfil the 20 lakh job promise," he remarked.

The SAD chief announced that the government would take steps to regularise all unauthorised colonies at a nominal price. He added medical treatment to blue card holders, small farmers, petty traders and construction workers would be raised to Rs one lakh per annum.

"If voted to power SAD will pursue a multi-pronged initiative to help farmers under debt in collaboration with the Centre and the banks," Badal said.

He said it had been decided to increase all welfare pensions from the present Rs 500 per month to Rs 2,000 per month. Shagun scheme will be raised from Rs 15,000 to Rs 51,000.

Highlighting the initiatives which would be taken for women, Badal said all matriculate women would be eligible to get sewing machines.

Outlining his vision for the industry, Sukhbir Badal said," We have laid down all needed infrastructure. All major towns and cities will be connected with four and six lane highways. We need mega industry centres. Accordingly, we have planned to make the Malwa region a textile hub and an industrial park will be created over 2,500 acres in Rajpura." Besides, trade fair centres will come up in Mohali, Ludhiana and Amritsar, he said.

"Similarly world class IT hubs will be created in Mohali and Amritsar. A manufacturing hub will be created in Ludhiana by way of the Cycle Valley. A pharmaceutical hub will be created in Rajpura and medicity at Mullanpur," he said.

The 117-assembly constituencies in Punjab will witness a three-way contest between the ruling SAD-BJP alliance, the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party on February 4.