CHENNAI/PUDUCHERRY/KOLKATA/GUWAHATI: Increase in wages of daily wage labourers to waiving of jewel loans availed by farmers and making fuel cheaper, many governments in states going to polls – which were announced by the Election Commission on Friday – announced sops ahead of the declaration to woo voters.
In Tamil Nadu, CM Edappadi K Palaniswami stepped up his game plan to cash in on populist schemes and made a slew of announcements on waiver of loans. On Friday, he announced in the assembly that jewel loans up to six sovereigns availed by farmers in co-operative banks would be waived.
Loans availed by women self-help groups (SHGs) through co-operative banks would also be waived. “It will benefit one lakh SHGs that have around 15 lakh members,” he said.
Political observers said the move aimed to take the wind out of the principal opposition party’s sail as its leader M K Stalin had promised that he would waive jewel loans and loans availed by SHGs if he formed the government.
Hours before the announcement of dates for West Bengal assembly polls, CM Mamata Banerjee on Friday said her government has increased the daily wages of labourers working under the state’s Urban Employment Scheme.
She said unskilled workers would get a daily wage of Rs 202 per day, up from Rs 144, while that for semi-skilled labourers was raised to Rs 303 from Rs 172. Under the job scheme, the government introduced a new category for skilled workers who will get a daily wage of Rs 404, said Banerjee.
In Puducherry, lieutenant governor (additional charge) Tamilisai Soundararajan announced a 2% cut on valueadded tax (VAT) imposed on petrol and diesel in the Union territory.
The price of petrol and diesel will drop by Re 1.4 per litre with the revision. VAT on petrol and diesel was hiked in August last year to mobilise funds to fight Covid-19.
The revision will cost the government an exchequer Rs 71 crore per year. Recently, Tamilisai ordered provision of three eggs per week through the 855 Anganwadi centres to children aged six months to six years. The Assam government too had recently slashed tax on diesel and petrol.
It had also removed the 25% Covid cess on liquor, making it cheaper in the state.