After the EC announces poll dates, the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately, which prohibits governments from making any welfare announcements.
Minutes before the Election Commission announced the dates for the elections of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, and Puducherry, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Friday announced a significant hike in wages of daily workers under the urban employment scheme.
After the EC announces poll dates, the Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately, which prohibits governments from making any welfare announcements, to level the playing field by minimizing any undue advantage accruing to ruling parties.
“I am pleased to announce a HIKE in the wages of daily wage workers under WB Urban Employment Scheme” Mamata Banerjee tweeted.
Unskilled workers in the state, under the new scheme, will now be paid ₹202 instead of the ₹144 they were being paid previously, and the semi-skilled workforce will be paid ₹303 instead of ₹172. A new category of skilled workers has also been introduced by the state who will be paid ₹404 per day.
“A total of 56,500 workers (40,500 unskilled, 8000 semi-skilled, 8000 skilled) will benefit from this. These wages are in parity with rural workers’ enhanced pay (MNREGA unskilled & semi-skilled). Budget provision for this step has been made available for both FY21 & FY22,” the West Bengal CM said in her second tweet.
Tamil Nadu chief minister E Palaniswami, by declaring a waiver on gold loans against up to six sovereigns given by cooperative banks to farmers and the poor, also made a pre-poll promise of his own. A similar waiver in the state assembly was announced by him for farm loans amounting to ₹1,200 crores and affecting 16 lakh farmers.
According to news agency ANI, poll-bound Puducherry too got a similar last-minute sop with newly appointed Lieutenant-Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan announcing a 2% reduction in VAT (Value Added Tax) on petrol and diesel in the union territory.