Kolkata: West Bengal’s ruling Left Front promised a health insurance policy to every poor family, electricity to every home and rice at Rs.2 a kg to every family with a monthly income of below Rs.10,000.
Releasing the Left Front’s election manifesto for the assembly polls, its chairman Biman Bose announced a ten-point programme, which, he said, aimed at increasing employment and raising the income of people living below the poverty line.
The wide ranging sops included providing electricity connection to every household and to all pumpsets used in agriculture, and setting a target of generating 4,000 MW of electricity to meet the demands of the industry and other users.
“If these pumpsets are used during the time fixed by the government, these would be provided power at reduced rates,” the manifesto said.
Laying stress on health and education, two areas where the government’s performance has drawn flak form the opposition and experts, the manifesto promised to extend the scope of universal free education now available upto Class VIII.
The Left Front also said financial assistance will be given to bring down the rate of school dropouts below one percent.
“Starting with the Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes and other backward classes and minorities, all girl students will be given dress and cycle allowance within five years,” the manifesto said.
Students of Classes 11nd 12 whose homes are more than five kilometers away from their educational institutions will be entitled to free travel once a day in government and private buses.
A key promise to draw the voters was in the health sector. The 15-page document signed by leaders of all the ten LF constituents said a public health law would be formulated to ensure free treatment and prevention of common and life threatening diseases.
“As part of this law, special stress will be given on bringing each and every poor family under a health insurance net.”
“The government will enter into an agreement with the insurance companies and pay the premium amount,” it said.
“Our programme will be to set the state as number one in respect of human development index. Our aim is to increase the income of the people who are currently under the below povery level, and rise of the income of 40 lakh families,” Biman Bose, Left Front chairman, said after releasing the manifesto at a media meet.
“Our target also is to increase employment of people living below the poverty line,” added Bose, who is also the state secretary of the Communist Party of India - Marxist (CPI-M).
The Left Front, which has been winning all elections since 1977, was battered in the 2009 Lok Sabha and last year`s civic polls, besides losing a series of assembly by-elections.