Tamil Nadu’s Chief Minister M K Stalin has announced five new schemes on Saturday, including a breakfast scheme for all government school children in the state. This announcement came as Stalin completed one year as the Chief Minister of southern state.
In the assembly on Saturday morning, Stalin said his government had fulfilled 60 to 70 per cent of the promises DMK made in the poll manifesto. He also coined a new word — Dravida Model — for his governance plan.
The Chief Minister has introduced a special nutritional scheme for children below the age of six, which is based on a public health study by the government on the alarming trends of malnourished children in the state. “There was a government study that showed that many children who start early were skipping breakfast. They mostly miss breakfast not only for the distance they have to travel but also for the misery and difficulties at home. So we are launching this scheme, for students up to class 5, in a selected number of schools — in corporations, municipalities and rural areas — before making it a statewide scheme,” Stalin said.
Similarly, referring to studies of unhealthy, underweight children in the state, Stalin said the nutritional scheme being announced by the government is to ensure the health of children below the age of 6 as to “ensure that all children in Tamil Nadu are not malnourished.”
He also announced new schools of excellence programme, modelled on a similar project by the Delhi government. This will be implemented in all corporations in the state at the cost of Rs 150 crore to modernise the infrastructure and invent a new learning environment for school students.
In addition to this, 708 urban medical centres will be set up in 21 corporations and 63 municipalities and will be worth Rs 180 crore. These will function with full staff strength, including doctors and nurses and other health staff, between 8am to 11am and 4pm to 8pm. “There is a huge crowd in our medical facilities everywhere. So, we are launching these urban medical centres to ensure free medical services for the poor so that we ensure a completely healthy Tamil Nadu by 2030 in public health standards,” he said.
The government also announced a scheme with an allocation of Rs 1,000 crore, which CM Stalin would directly monitor, to collect grievances from all constituencies in the state. Stalin said, “let it be the people from my constituency, Kolathur, or opposition leader’s Edappadi or O Panneerselvam’s Bodi; we will be there to address their grievances.”
Stalin, who started his speech on Saturday morning, said one year might be too long in a man’s life. “But in the long history of a state, one year is like a mere droplet. And that makes me glad for the fact that I was able to do plenty of things in this one year…”
“I am not Kalaignar (his father, late M Karunanidhi). I cannot speak like Kalaignar. I cannot write like him. But I had taken the pledge that I will work hard like him. Let me tell you that I kept that word, and that is my satisfaction at this moment,” Stalin said, thanking DMK cadres, cabinet colleagues and allies for working hard in the first one year for the prosperity of the state.
He said he stopped his convoy enroute to the secretariat in the morning and boarded a government bus — Number 29C — to ask the women passengers if they were happy. He recalled that it was the same bus he used to take when he was a school student, even as his father was a minister then.
Reading out dozens of schemes his government implemented in the last year and details of their beneficiaries, Stalin said the free bus ride scheme for women alone helps working women save Rs 600-1000 a month. Nearly 106 crore tickets have been availed under this scheme till April 2022.
“We have done what we had promised already, or we did more than we promised. All governments have a vision. I call ours ‘Dravida Model’, meaning everything for everyone. Giving a helping hand, and uplifting people, these are the values envisaged by Periyar and C N Annadurai (DMK founder) and Kalaignar. So we call it a Dravida Model,” he said.