Two of the poll-bound states, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu, on Friday announced schemes for the public, hours before the Election Commission’s announcement of the schedule. Both the states are likely to vote around April-May.

The announcements gain significance as the Model Code of Conduct will come into effect after the Election Commission announces the schedule. The code prohibits governments from making new welfare announcements to minimise any undue advantage to ruling parties.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Friday morning announced that gold loans against up to six sovereigns by cooperative banks to farmers and poor will be waived, PTI reported. The gold loan schemes, interest rates for which were fixed at 6% annually, were announced earlier this year, as part of relief measures during the coronavirus pandemic.

The gold loans were offered by the Tamil Nadu State Apex Co-Operative Bank and people could borrow from Rs 25,000 to Rs 1 lakh, which had to be returned in three months, according to NDTV.

Meanwhile, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced a raise in daily wage for labourers in the state, which she claimed will benefit 56,500 workers, including unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled ones.

In a tweet on Friday afternoon, Banerjee said that under the West Bengal Urban Employment Scheme, the daily wage for unskilled workers will be increased from the existing Rs 144 per day to Rs 202 a day, while that for semi-skilled workers will be raised from Rs 172 a day to Rs 303. She also announced a new category of skilled labours, who will be paid Rs 404 per day.

In the upcoming state elections, Banerjee’s ruling Trinamool Congress will be pitted in a three-cornered fight with the Bharatiya Janata Party and a coalition between the Left parties and Congress. On the other hand in Tamil Nadu, Palaniswami will seek another term for his Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and BJP combine against an alliance of Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.