Panchayat polls: Rural economic growth to be BJP's poll plank

new face: Former president of the Bangalore City BJP unit Vijaykumar hands over the party flag to newly elected president Subanarasimha in Bangalore on Friday. Lok Sabha member Ananthkumar, BJP State President K S Eshwarappa, and former minister Katta Subramanya Naidu are with them. DH PhotoThe ruling BJP on Friday promised to provide agricultural loans at one percent interest to farmers from cooperative institutions and regional rural banks, besides allotting
Rs two crore annual grants for the fund-starved taluk panchayats.

The BJP, which launched its manifesto for the zilla and taluk panchayat elections, focuses on a five-point agenda to usher in economic development in rural areas through upgrading infrastructure facilities, besides development of human resources through qualitative improvement in health, education and food security.

The State government is presently extending crop loans to farmers at three per cent interest from nationalised and regional rural banks as well as cooperative institutions.
The ruling BJP now wants to consolidate its rural vote base ahead of the panchayat polls by cashing in on the interest subvention by the Centre for timely repayment of crop loans from one per cent to two per cent.

The Yeddyurappa government plans to pass on the benefit to farmers by offering crop loans at one per cent interest rate to those who have been prompt and regular in their repayments.

The 28-page manifesto ‘Abhivruddhi Malegagi - BJP’ (BJP for developmental showers) makes a host of assurances in rural development, promising the electorate decentralisation of power to panchayat raj institutions.

The BJP has promised that it would provide Rs two crore annual grant for each of the 176 taluk panchayats (TPs) in the State for taking up developmental works. Poor devolution of funds for the TPs in the three-tier panchayat system has been a common complaint for many years now.

Speaking to reporters after the launch of the manifesto, BJP State president K S Eshwarappa said charges of corruption and land scam against the government will have no impact on the electoral prospects of the party. He expressed confidence that the party would win majority in at least 22 of the 30 ZPs and 100 of the 176 TPs in the State.

Other assurances include setting up of Special Agricultural Zones. These demarcated areas would protect fertile land and focus on providing infrastructure like roads, markets and storage facilities thereby making farming profitable.

The manifesto promises distribution of “soil health card” to farmers.

Farmers can verify the soil specimen through scientists who examine the mineral composition in the soil. Based on the report, farmers can decide on the cropping pattern.
The manifesto also mentions the creation of a rural India task force to protect and also nurture local culture and heritage.

Meeting

The BJP top brass convened a meeting on Friday evening to finalise its strategy for the ZP/TP polls. Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, Party State President K S Eshwarappa, National General Secretary Ananth Kumar and Home Minister R Ashok participated in the meeting

*Access to clean water in every village in five years

*Continuation of free power for IP sets

*Govt to build Ashraya houses under the scheme for small/ marginal farmers on their land

*Electrification of 12 lakh households in two years

*Cattle loans at six percent interest

*Creation of job opportunities in rural areas by setting up industries

*Setting up of Gramina Mahila bank with a revolving fund of Rs 500 crore

*Construction of 25,000 check-dams in five years

*Upgrade rural roads through Rural Roads Development Corporation

*Setting up of Deendayal Upadhyaya Rural University for research on rural development and encourage rural entrepreneurship

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