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Stalin completes one year in office, announces five new schemes

Stalin began his day by visiting the memorials of DMK founder C N Annadurai and his father M Karunanidhi and taking a surprise ride on a city bus
Last Updated 13 May 2022, 10:48 IST

On completion of one year in office, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Saturday made five new announcements like providing nutritious breakfast to government school children from classes one to five and setting up 25 Schools of Excellence across the state on the lines of the Model Schools in Delhi.

Making a detailed statement under Rule 110 in the Assembly, Stalin also announced a special nutritious scheme for children under the age of six to address the malnutrition problem and the launch of 708 Urban Medical Centres in 21 municipal corporations and 63 municipalities to help people access medical care in their neighborhood.

The Chief Minister, who began his day by visiting the memorials of DMK founder C N Annadurai and his father M Karunanidhi and taking a surprise ride on a city bus to check the effectiveness of the free travel for women scheme, also announced that the ‘CM in your constituency’ programmee will be expanded to all 234 assembly segments in the state.

Maintaining that his government has implemented 60 to 70 per cent of the promises made in the election manifesto in its first 365 days, Stalin told emphatically: “I am not Kalaignar (Karunanidhi). I cannot speak like Kalaignar. I cannot write like him. But I have kept the pledge that I took that I would work hard like him.”

Stalin took time to explain the “benefits” of the free travel scheme for women in town buses saying a survey conducted among 465 regular travelers found that the scheme has benefitted women from SC, BC, and MBC communities the most as many are able to “save money” from “a tight ropewalk” in running their households.

“Our government’s Dravidian Model has proved that a single signature can transform the lives of crores of women. I have spoken in detail about only one scheme. One signature has done good to crores of people in more ways than one,” Stalin told the Assembly.

He also responded to criticism that the DMK was only remodeling old schemes and positioning them as new ones. “I want to ask is free bus travel for women an old scheme. Is providing Rs 4,000 each to ration card holders as Covid-19 relief money old? I can go on asking,” he said.

Talking about the new announcements, Stalin said the free breakfast scheme for students at government schools from classes one to five will be implemented for now in select areas in municipal corporations, municipalities, and in far-flung villages. “Some start early from home skipping their breakfast. This scheme will take care of that. It will be expanded gradually across the state,” Stalin added.

The scheme is an extension of the legendary Mid-day Meals scheme, first conceived and implemented by the then Justice Party government in the British rule in 1920s. In independent India, Congress’ K Kamaraj and AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran expanded the scheme further. Karunanidhi, during his 1989-1991 tenure, added eggs to the meal.

Stalin said 25 Corporation and Government Higher Secondary Schools across the state will be upgraded as Schools of Excellence on the lines of Delhi’s Model Schools. The CM also added that the scheme will be expanded to the rest of the state in a gradual manner.

However, the Opposition wasn’t enthused. Leader of Opposition Edappadi K Palaniswami blamed the DMK government for deterioration of law and order. “This government has not announced any new schemes in the past one year,” Palaniswami charged.

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(Published 07 May 2022, 08:19 IST)

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