The United Democratic Party (UDP) on Friday released its manifesto for the February 27 Meghalaya assembly election and assured to review the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with Assam in regards to the six out of 12 areas of difference if voted to power.
The manifesto released by UDP vice president Allantry F Dkhar in presence of the ex-legislator of Nongkrem Lambor Malngiang and president of the state women’s wing Pretty Pyngrope – also seeks to provide a clean and corruption-free government.
“We believe in working towards sustainable development as opposed to the offering of freebies,” Dkhar said.
Stating that the state is in need of change and transformation, he said, “With renewed vigour and hope, the party will endeavour to provide good governance with political and administrative accountability and growth in all sectors – to put the state on a higher growth trajectory for the people.”
Committed to bringing about a healthy Meghalaya, the UDP promised to provide equitable & affordable healthcare – upgrade infrastructural development and improve the efficiency of medical personnel across the state.
It also aims to eradicate drug abuse and reduce the maternal & infant mortality rate by setting up prenatal and postnatal care centres besides increasing the healthcare cover under MHIS.
The party also assured to constitute an Education Commission to streamline the sector with an objective to bring about quality education, security of services for teachers, uniformity of the different categories of educational institutions, ensuring maximum enrolment, arresting the rate of dropouts and working towards changes in line with the National Education Policy (NEP).
The party said it will also provide free textbooks to school-going children from BPL families, set up special schools for children with special needs and ensure residential schools are made functional at the earliest.
The manifesto said that the UDP will also extend financial incentives for those practising agriculture and allied activities-horticulture, animal husbandry, pisciculture, apiculture, floriculture, food processing, setting up of cold chain and warehouses for grading horticulture crops, welfare schemes for farmers including female farmers, small & marginal farmers, farm labourers and introduction of the minimum support price.
On the law and order aspect, the UDP also assured to strengthen the police department by filling up the vacancies besides raising a dedicated state border force to handle security at both interstate and international borders.
“Militancy, extortion & anti-social activities to be dealt with firmly, time-bound & effective prosecution,” it said while assuring to firmly tackle the influx of illegal migrants and that such cases will be tried by special fast-track courts.
Reiterating its commitment to pursue implementation of the inner line permit (ILP), the UDP also asserted the need to implement existing state laws like the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act.
“We will also continue to impress upon the Union government the need to include the Khasi and Garo languages in the 8th Schedule to the Constitution of India, as per the resolution passed by the Legislative Assembly of the state,” it said.
It further assured to ensure provisions of the MMDR Act and other laws cover the marginal miner and that mining for the people's economy does not outweigh the need for environmental protection.
Emphasizing on the need to promote tourism in the state, the manifesto said the party wants a more inclusive approach in facilitating medical tourism & exploring other non-conventional tourism avenues, improved management & capacity-building for hospitality personnel.
It also promised to revamp the MTDC to develop and promote the tourism sector in the state.
Also seeking to improve Meghalaya’s rankings, not only in terms of GDP but also Human Development Index and Sustainable Development Goals, the UDP promised to look into the welfare of all by reducing landlessness and the economic gap between the citizens.
It also stressed the need to revamp the MeECL to ensure adequate power production and supply in the state.
On youth development, the party said that it will incentivize youth-led enterprises or start-ups by easing their access to finance, setting up of sports institutions to harness the talent within the state, provision of mandatory IT & telecommunication facilities, along with capacity building besides encouraging music, arts and culture as an avenue towards gainful employment.
As far as the issue of employment is concerned, the UDP said it will address employability via skill development and coaching centres, to fill up all government vacancies, time-bound recruitment by MPSC and DSCs and to revisit the age bar.
The party also stressed on the need to do away with personal interviews for Grade III & IV positions and on-camera personal interviews for those applicable.