‘Freebies to poor akin to tax sops for the rich’



Chennai: Freebies like TVs and grinder-mixers given to the poor by the government are similar to tax exemptions to the rich and corporates, PMK leader S Ramadoss said here on Monday.

Speaking to reporters after releasing his party's manifesto for the Tamil Nadu assembly's April 13 elections, he said: "Freebies like colour televisions, grinders, mixie and other items are akin to what the government gives to the rich...like tax exemptions and tax holidays to corporates."

The PMK's ally DMK on Saturday announced freebies like free grinder-mixers to the poor if it returns to power. The party has fulfilled its promise of distributing free TV sets made in the 2006 election manifesto.

Queried about the absence of any such freebies in the PMK's 2011 manifesto, Ramadoss said: "Our party will not form the government and hence we cannot make any such promises."

He said the PMK believes that only conditional cash transfer schemes would uplift people living below the poverty line (BPL).

The PMK manifesto promises direct cash transfers worth Rs 1,000 - 1,500 per month to the woman of a family subject to certain conditions, like sending the children to school.

The party also promised to set up Farmers Income Commission to ensure remunerative prices for the farm produce, payment of fixed income to those engaged in farming, and insurance and pension facilities.

According to Ramadoss, his party will work for setting up Special Agro-Economic Zone in Tamil Nadu and would continue its demand for a separate budget for the agriculture department.

The party will also provide various incentives to industrialists to encourage them to set up their units in the state.

The PMK also promised to strive for setting up a fund to re-train workers who lose their jobs. The party also promised workers' participation in management, share in the profits, workers insurance and other facilities.

Praising the Bus Rapid Transit System in Ahmedabad, Ramadoss said the PMK would strive to have a similar system here to encourage people to shift from cars to public transport.

He said PMK legislators would work for chalking out a Constituency Sustainable Development Plan (CSDP) in consultation with the private sector, non-governmental organisations and local governments.

According to him, the CSDP would focus on generation of new jobs, industrialisation, and value addition to farm products in each constituency.

IANS