Seeking a record fifth term as Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik clearly is leaving no stone unturned to woo the masses. Political pundits predict a tough challenge for Patnaik this time to regain power as he battles inner party dissent and an aspirational BJP keen to make in- roads in the state.
Naveen Patnaik has hence unveiled the party election manifesto for women promising to provide Rs. 5,000-crore government work every year to the Self Help Groups (SHGs) under “Mission Shakti”.
The state and the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections are scheduled to be held simultaneously in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29. The state has 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Assembly seats.
“As women are the real double engines of growth, BJD’s manifesto for them promises Rs. 5,000 crore of work to further strengthen Mission Shakti which will give them Rs. 500 crore profit,” said the Chief Minister.
Addressing a rally in Nuapada, he said the women SHGs will be given government jobs like management of mid-day meal (MDM), public distribution system (PDS), paddy procurement, Ashram schools, hospital, transportation and supply of school uniform.
He also promised to provide accidental insurance facility for every member of the SHGs and zero-interest loan up to Rs. 5 lakh to all the SHGs.
Patnaik promised to hike medical assistance for women under Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) from Rs. 7 lakh to Rs. 10 lakh. He also promised to provide free education for girls from KG to college level, including medical and engineering courses, if the BJD wins the elections. The Chief Minister also promised to provide marriage assistance of Rs. 25,000 to poor families.