In a path-breaking move, actor-politician Kamal Haasan has promised payment to homemakers for their contribution at the home front, computer with a high-speed internet connection to all households, as well as helping farmers transition to agri-entrepreneurs, if his party Makkal Needhi Maiam (MNM) wins the 2021 Tamil Nadu assembly elections. All the promises that he has made are in response to the challenges faced by a large population during the pandemic.
The participation of women in the workforce has dropped in the last few years, and with this year bringing a new set of challenges, the situation has only worsened. One of the major reasons for low female participation is that women spend a lot of time in unpaid care for their families, especially children and elders. If this move is implemented, it will be a moment of reckoning, and serve as an example for other political parties to follow.
"Women will break through established glass ceilings by the equal opportunities provided to them by our MNM government,” said the manifesto.
A progressive manifesto
The party’s seven-point ‘Governance and Economic Agenda’ also speaks about raising the levels of underprivileged communities from the “poverty line” to the “prosperity line”.
There’s also a mention of ‘online homes’, which means that all homes will receive a computer along with high-speed internet connectivity through an optical fibre cable, provided by the BharatNet and TamilNet projects. The pandemic has made us realise the significance of going digital, and without a good internet connection, conducting business, continuing education, and staying connected with the world becomes ever more difficult. Just like other necessities, the internet today is a basic human right, feels the party.
The last few months have also shone the spotlight on farmers, who have been protesting amid a high number of COVID-19 cases and the biting cold to fight for their rights. MNM is sensitive to the needs of the community, and wants to handhold them to become the agri-entrepreneurs of the future. They plan to do this by providing facilities like a cold chain infrastructure, investments for value-added farming, as well as encouraging organic farming in the state.
They have promised a ‘green channel’ government, under which they will issue certificates and documents without a citizen even applying for it, for them to be raised from the poverty line to the prosperity line. These will be sent to people on their smartphones.
Besides, a new law called the Right to Government Services Act will help in the redressal of grievances in a timely manner.
Some of the other points mentioned in the agenda include paperless government offices, a brand new department of digital governance, promotion of green industries, as well as the provision of urban opportunities in rural areas.
The MNM political party was established in February 2018 and had earlier contested the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, wherein they had received 3.77 percent votes.
(Edited by Kanishk Singh)