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Saturday, July 02, 2022

PM in Chennai: Stalin demands official status for Tamil, even as Modi calls the language ‘eternal’

While addressing the gathering, Stalin said Tamil Nadu’s growth is to do not just with economy, but includes social justice, women empowerment and equality.

Written by Janardhan Koushik | Chennai |
Updated: May 27, 2022 7:03:50 am
MK Stalin, Modi Chennai visit, Narendra ModiPrime Minister Narendra Modi with Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin, in Chennai on Thursday. (Express Photo)

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Thursday placed an array of demands in front of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was in Chennai to inaugurate and lay the foundation for various developmental projects worth over Rs 31,500 crore.

While addressing the gathering, Stalin said Tamil Nadu’s growth is to do not just with economy, but includes social justice, women empowerment and equality.

“Tamil Nadu is a leading state in terms of economic growth, excellent rural healthcare facilities, large number of institutions and highly skilled human resources. Our state is a pioneer not only in economic and other related factors but also in social justice, equality, and women empowerment. Tamil Nadu is a state for inclusive growth, this is what we call the Dravidian Model,” Stalin said.

He noted that in this ‘Dravidian Model’ of governance, while taking various welfare and developmental measures, he wants the PM to note that they have largely corrected the fiscal imbalance and also re-structured the finances of the state.

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Further, he highlighted the “disparity” between Tamil Nadu’s contribution to the national economy and the share it receives from the Union Government.

Stalin said Tami Nadu’s share in India’s GDP is 9.22 per cent and in the overall tax income of the Union Government, the state’s share is 6 per cent.

“The Union government must increase its contribution to schemes and fund allocation, to do justice to the contribution by developed states like Tamil Nadu in the country’s development and economy. Only then will the true spirit of co-operative federalism be upheld,” Stalin said.

Further, he placed various demands, such as the retrieval of Katchatheevu, to release the pending GST dues, to extend GST compensation by at least two years, make Tamil an Official Language of the Union on par with Hindi and recognise as the court language in the High Court, and facilitate NEET exemption to the state at the earliest.

“I want you to extend your fullest cooperation and support to Tamil Nadu. I request you to allot more projects and more funds to our state in the true spirit of co-operative federalism. As the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, I once again reiterate my leader and Father of Tamil Nadu Muthamizh Arignar Kalaignar’s quote ‘Uravuku Kai koduppom, Urimaiku kural kodupom’ (We extend a hand of friendship but at the same time, we will raise our voice for rights),” he noted.

Earlier, PM Modi was provided a warm reception after landing in Chennai. Thousands of BJP cadres gathered on either side of the road and greeted the PM. CM Stalin welcomed Modi at INS Adyar and presented him a copy of Tamil epic ‘Cilapatikaram’.

Speaking after inaugurating various projects, PM Modi said it was always wonderful to be back in Tamil Nadu as “this land is special”. He said the people, culture and language of this state are outstanding.

Modi said in every field, someone or the other from Tamil Nadu is always excelling. He said he recently hosted the Indian deaf Olympics contingent at his residence.

“You would be aware that this time, it was India’s best performance in the tournament. But do you know, out of the 16 medals, the youngsters of Tamil Nadu had a role in six of those medals. This is among the best contributions to the team,” Modi said.

The PM further heaped praise on the state by saying that the Tamil language is eternal and the Tamil culture is global. “From Chennai to Canada, Madurai to Malaysia, Namakkal to New York, Salem to South Africa, the occasion of Pongal and Puthandu (New Year) are marked with greater fervor,” he said.

He further noted that Union Minister L Murugan walked the red carpet at the Cannes film festival in traditional Tamil attire, which made Tamilians across the globe very proud.

“We have gathered here to celebrate yet another glorious chapter of Tamil Nadu’s development journey,” the PM noted, listing down the projects that were either inaugurated or their foundation stones laid.

“Each one of you wants your children to lead a better quality of life than you did. Each of you want a glorious future for your children. Among the most important preconditions for that is top quality infrastructure. History has taught us that those nations which gave the most importance to infrastructure made the transition from developing to developed countries. The government of India is fully focusing on building infrastructure that is of top quality and sustainable. When I talk about infrastructure, I refer to both social and physical infrastructure,” the PM added.

He then spoke about the various welfare schemes the government is implementing to improve the life of the public. Modi said the government of India is fully committed to further popularise the Tamil language and culture.

“In January this year, the new campus of Central Institute of Classical Tamil was inaugurated in Chennai. The new campus is fully funded by the Union government. It is equipped with a spacious library, seminar hall and multimedia hall. A Subramania Bharati chair at Banaras Hindu University was recently announced. Since it is located in my constituency, the joy was extra special,” Modi said.

He further added that the National Education Policy (NEP) promotes Indian languages and due to that, technical and medical courses can be done in local languages and youngsters from Tamil Nadu can benefit from this.

Commenting on the current economic crisis in Sri Lanka, Modi said India is providing all support possible to them. “Many Indian organisations and idividuals have sent assistance to their brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka, including Tamils in the north, east and in the up country. India will continue to stand with the people of Sri Lanka and support democracy, stability and economic recovery in Sri Lanka.

“I can never forget my visit to Jaffna. I was the first Indian PM to visit… The government of India is undertaking numerous projects to assist the Tamil people in Sri Lanka. These projects cover healthcare, transportation, housing and culture,” PM Modi said.

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