Goa AAP plays Santa ahead of Christmas, promises higher allowances

Panaji, Dec 23 (IANS) Ahead of Christmas, the AAP in Goa on Friday played Santa Claus of sorts, promising increased government doles and virtually doubled financial benefits for a cross section of the electorate should the party win the state assembly elections early next year.

The Aam Aadmi Party’s chief ministerial candidate Elvis Gomes also held out an assurance that none of the existing populist schemes, including those announced by the present BJP-led coalition government, will be cancelled.

Addressing a press conference in Panaji, Elvis Gomes said that an allowance of Rs 2,000 given to senior citizens every month under the Dayanand Social Security Scheme would be hiked to Rs 3,000.

“AAP Ladli Laxmi scheme will provide Rs 2 lakh to girls pursuing higher education or setting up businesses or for wedding (expenditure),” Gomes said.

The scheme, which was launched by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition government in Goa to improve the state’s sex ratio and stop female infanticide, provided Rs 1 lakh for a girl child towards her wedding expenses.

Gomes said that the Aam Aurat Griha Adhaar scheme would provide housewives Rs 3,000 to tide over household expenses, in comparison to Rs 1,500 at present.

The AAP also promised a Rs 5,000 unemployment allowance for youths without jobs. A similar scheme was announced by the present government, but was not implemented.

In addition, the AAP has assured the voters an allowance of Rs 3,500 for HIV/AIDS patients, and pensions for persons of varying disabilities.

“There is a campaign on the social media that the AAP will cancel all schemes, if its government comes to power. In reality, we are actually promising increased doles, in some cases even doubling the current amounts,” Gomes said.