Tackling growing unemployment, the farm crisis and ensuring reservation for locals top the agenda for the alliance led by the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) as it prepares to form the government in Jharkhand.

JMM, which contested the assembly elections in alliance with the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, promised in its manifesto earnings of 72,000 per annum for every poor family. The alliance also promised that unemployed graduates and post-graduates will get a monthly allowance of 5,000 and 7,000 respectively. The populist promises include reserving 75% of private sector jobs for locals, along with 28% reservation for Scheduled Tribes, 27% for Other Backward Classes and 12% for Scheduled Castes. The alliance has also promised to come out with an Act to give land to landless people.

Analysts say the new government’s focus will have to be on development, welfare and resource generation.

“I expect the government to focus on development and welfare-oriented policies. It is needed in the new era of politics, which is guided by these principles of governance. Populism alone does not go a long way. The new government will need strong macro-economic planning, which should be focused first on resource generation and resource mobilization," said Harishwar Dayal, an economist and political analyst from Ranchi who is also the state coordinator of the Lokniti programme of the New Delhi-based Centre for the Study of Developing Societies.

The poll promises point to a big economic stimulus in the form of putting more money in the hands of the poor and the unemployed. Jharkhand’s $4.4 billion economy has bounced back from the drought of 2015-16 and is estimated to have grown 6.8% in FY19, though agriculture, forestry and fishing have lagged behind in growth, according to the state’s economic survey for FY19.

For farmers, the alliance has promised a one-time farm loan waiver of up to 2 lakh, the setting up of a Kisan Bank, and the provision of minimum support price for agriculture produce. It will also introduce a crop insurance scheme named ‘Kisan Fasal Bima’. The farm loan waiver, if implemented, could be beneficial to subsistence farmers. Some economists also said that putting more money in the hands of people is the best short-term measure to counter the economic slowdown plaguing the country.

The alliance also promised to recommend to the central government that the tribal language Ho be incorporated in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution, to woo the large tribal population of the state.

The three parties, which had contested the elections in alliance, had come out with separate manifestos for the state.

Mining and quarrying accounts for a big chunk of the industrial sector in the mineral-rich state. Jharkhand’s 380 major and 3,270 minor mines offer a robust revenue stream. Currently, Jharkhand gets over 10,500 crore in royalty from mines.

Press Trust of India contributed to this story.


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