The Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M K Stalin, on Tuesday advocates for moving education from the concurrent list to the state list of the Constitution. The Chief Minister in his Independence Day speech said that over 55,000 positions in various government departments will be filled soon. Former Chief Ministers C N Annadurai and M Karunanidhi, both from the Dravidian region, have spent their entire lives advocating for state autonomy in a federal India.
Stalin said that all topics that directly affect people, particularly education, should be included on the state list of the Constitution. Qualification examination methods like the harsh National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) could only be entirely abolished by adding education to the state list of the Constitution.
Following the deaths by suicide of a teen, a medical course aspirant, and his father over alleged NEET related stress, Stalin on Monday urged President Droupadi Murmu to immediately give her assent to a state Bill that seeks to exempt Tamil Nadu from the ambit of the qualifying test. The CM also slammed Governor R N Ravi for his pro-NEET stand.
The Constitution (Forty-second amendment) Act, 1976 transferred the subject 'education' from the state list to the concurrent list. Stalin said the nation, comprising states, should develop keeping in mind the growth of people of various races, languages, religions and cultures. "There cannot be a more happy news than the spread of social justice-led Dravidian model of governance of everything for everyone, across India."
Listing iconic leaders including Dr B R Ambedkar and 'Periyar' E V Ramasamy, Stalin said all of them desired an egalitarian India. "We are running such a government in Tamil Nadu." The DMK is wedded to the ideals of state autonomy, social justice, equality, self respect, love for the language (mother tongue), and 'race (ethnic) right.' The government is also based on such ideals, he said.
"A true tribute to freedom fighters will be building an India that nurtures the lofty ideals of social justice, equality, brotherhood, secularism and welfare of the oppressed people. Let us guard the freedom by way of unity, which fetched us independence. Let us uproot forces that sow the seeds of difference. My Independence Day greetings to all who love India with the pride of being Indians."
The Chief Minister referred in detail to the welfare schemes of the DMK regime and said, under the fare-free travel plan for women in government town buses, 50 lakh women travelled every day. "So far, in this scheme, women have undertaken about 314 crore trips in government buses and have benefitted. Each beneficiary is able to save over Rs 850 per month on an average." He said during the past two years, since the DMK assumed power, Tamil Nadu has witnessed all round growth.
Stalin made several announcements in his address. For the benefit of retired personnel of the armed forces, the CM announced a plan to upskill them to facilitate suitable re-employment opportunities. At an outlay of about Rs seven crore, 10,000 personnel would be trained and all support would be rendered till they get right placements.
Stalin said the monthly pension to family members of freedom fighters would be increased to Rs 11,000 from Rs 10,000. The breakfast scheme for government school students would be extended from August 25 to all the 31,008 state-run schools which shall benefit 15.75 lakh students. The scheme would be launched in a school in Tirukkuvalai (Tiruvarur), where Karunanidhi studied and Rs 404 crore has been allotted for the plan for the current fiscal.
He announced setting up of a separate welfare board to protect the interests of workers of firms such as Ola, Uber, Swiggy and Zomato. He reiterated that the monthly Rs 1,000 assistance scheme for women (Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thittam) would be launched on September 15, the birth anniversary of Annadurai.
The CM said the Rs one lakh subsidy plan for women autorickshaw drivers to buy new vehicles would be extended to 500 more beneficiaries. Also, he announced 'Kalaignar Centenary Park' on a 6.09 acre land parcel on downtown Cathedral Road here at an estimated cost of Rs 25 crore.
"The Indian Union's Independence Day commences its 77th year. An important part of the Indian Union is Tamil Nadu." Expressing pride in hoisting the tricolour, Stalin said the DMK regime is second to none in honouring freedom fighters and listed achievements in this regard.
In 1971, during the war with Pakistan, Tamil Nadu's contribution was Rs six crore out of the total Rs 25 crore given by all the Indian states to the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The DMK government was then led by late Chief Minister Karunanidhi. Love for the language (mother tongue Tamil), nation and the race are the hallmarks of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam.
Stalin delivered his Independence Day address from Fort St George here, the seat of power, after unfurling the national flag. This is the third time he is presiding the Independence Day state celebrations, the first being in 2021 after his party captured power in May that year.
(With PTI Inputs)