Ahead of the Assembly polls to be held on April 6th, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman released the BJP manifesto for Pondicherry, which promises, among others, a 'Special Union Territory' status for Puducherry, ensuring the devolution of funds from 25 per cent to 40 per cent.
The manifesto also promises to transform Puducherry into a 'spiritual pub' and restore the glory of the Thirunallar temple, for which a new temple complex would be built. It further promises that donations at temple complexes would be free of government control.
It also offers a slew of welfare policies targeted at women empowerment, including free and quality education to girls from KG to post-graduate level, free scooter for girls in college, interest-free loans of up to 5 lakhs for women self-help groups, waiver of loans taken by women self-help groups affected by Covid-19, 50 per cent reservation for women employees in government institutions and local body polls, free transport and healthcare for women, and setting up of sanitary napkin vending machines at schools, colleges, public places, PDS outlets and anganwadis. Additionally, it promises 2,50,000 jobs for its youth and the creation of a separate school education board for classes 10 and 12 and the constitution of a Puducherry Public Service Commission for government jobs, as requested by the public. The Pondicherry University would be split into Pondicherry Technology University, Pondicherry Arts and Science University and Pondicherry Medical University, informed Sitharaman.
"A BJP government at the Centre and the union territory will ensure implementation of all central schemes. The previous state government did not do this, fearing that the credit would go to the central government and Prime Minister Narendra Modiji," the minister said.
In addition, the manifesto promises to build a 150ft statue of poet Subramania Bharathy, tourism centres across Puducherry to boost tourism, new IT parks, textile parks and an elevated line to Chennai via Mamallapuram.