BJD promises to spend Rs 1 lakh-crore for youths, free electricity up to 100 units

Bhubaneswar, May 9 (PTI) The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Thursday unveiled its manifesto for the simultaneous Lok Sabha and assembly polls with the goal of making Odisha the No. 1 state in the country by 2034.

Releasing the regional party’s manifesto, BJD president Naveen Patnaik announced the introduction of Kalingashree and Kalinga Bhushan awards annually, akin to Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awards, to celebrate Odisha’s rich culture and heritage.

“This manifesto will be accepted by the state cabinet in its first meeting after the new BJD government is installed after elections,” Patnaik said.

He expressed confidence that the manifesto, once implemented through the 5T governance model, would transform Odisha into a modern, identity-based state of growth and pride.

“Youth empowerment is a key aspect of the manifesto, with a separate budget of Rs 1 lakh-crore earmarked for the youth of Odisha over the next decade,” he said.

Additionally, the party pledged to increase scholarships for girls and boys and create two lakh government jobs in the next five years. Patnaik also announced plans for a new skill and entrepreneurship university, state institute of fashion technology, and AI university in Odisha.

In terms of industry, the focus will be on attracting investment in new technologies like semiconductors, IT, and artificial intelligence, alongside promoting eco-friendly tourism. The manifesto also promises free electricity for households using up to 100 units and subsidised electricity for those using 100 to 150 units.

Middle-class families will benefit from initiatives like Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana coverage, interest subvention on home loans, and scholarships for children’s education, the manifesto said.

Additionally, the manifesto outlines plans to empower women, tribal, OBC, and minority communities through interest-free loans, financial linkages for self-help groups, and pension schemes.

According to the manifesto, the SHGs will be provided government business worth Rs 20,000 crore in the next 10 years. Individual women entrepreneurs will be assisted with a corpus fund of Rs 100 crore to provide subsidised loans up to Rs 10 lakh to start and grow their business. Mission Shakti will be pension for women. All grassroots women workers, community support workers, anganwadi workers, and ASHAs will also receive Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) coverage and social security pensions, the BJD promised in its manifesto.

Food security, agricultural support, heritage preservation, and language development are also key components of the manifesto.

The party plans to continue and expand initiatives like the KALIA scheme for farmers and provide financial assistance for dependent girl marriages and crop loans.

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