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Rediff.com  » Election » SAD releases manifesto, proposes greater fiscal autonomy

SAD releases manifesto, proposes greater fiscal autonomy

April 20, 2009 17:19 IST
Refraining from mentioning the Anantpur resolution in its manifesto despite its leaders making a strong pitch for its implementation, the ruling Shiromoni Akali Dal in Punjab on Monday demanded genuine "federal structure" with greater fiscal autonomy to states.

SAD president Sukhbir Singh Badal had stressed on implementation of the resolution passed in the 1970s for greater autonomy to Punjab after taking over as the deputy chief minister but it has raised hackles of ally Bharatiya Janata Party.

Though not mentioning it in the manifesto released on Monday, the SAD has included the key demands of the resolution, which asked for inclusion of Chandigarh and other Punjabi-speaking areas left out of the state back into Punjab.

It also demanded decentralisation of the planning process and the development schemes to make the country a "true global leader."

The party reiterated its commitment to solve the river water issue under the internationally accepted Riparian Principle. It also resolved to set up of Special Courts to try those involved in the 1984 riots. Further, the party promises to bring back to India the "Black money" stacked in Swiss and other secret accounts.

The SAD said that the new Election Commission norms would be put in place to ensure complete impartiality. A panel comprising of the Prime Minister, leader of opposition and Lok Sabha Speaker would be formed to appoint Central Bureau of Investigation Director and Chief Election Commissioner, the manifesto promised.

The party also said it will raise the upper limit for educational loans from the present Rs 4 lakh to Rs 15 lakhs and fix the interest rate on all educational loans at 4 per cent. It also vowed to waive agricultural loans, reduce rate of interest of new farm loans to 4 per cent, slash diesel price by Rs 10 per litre and create a Special Corpus Fund for farmers affected by natural calamities.

The manifesto said that if a SAD-alliance government is formed at the Centre, they would ensure that every poor family gets 35 kg of wheat every month at just Rs 2 per kg. residential flats would be constructed for the poor in towns and cities of Punjab at a cost of Rs 116 crore, it adds.

The other promises made by the party in its manifesto include one rank one pension for defence services, effective campaign to preserve environment and female foeticide, drug menace and other evils to be fought on a war footing.

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