Updated: May 7, 2022 12:53:23 pm
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin announced five new schemes on Saturday, including a breakfast scheme for all government school children in the state. Speaking in the state legislative Assembly, on completion of one year as chief minister, Stalin said his government had fulfilled 60 to 70 per cent of the promises DMK had made in its poll manifesto. He also coined a new word – Dravida Model – for his governance plan.
Among the other announcements he made amid huge applause were 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; Delhi-model schools of excellence; and 708 urban public health centres at a cost of Rs 180 crore.
“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 implementing it statewide,” Stalin said.
Similarly, referring to studies of unhealthy, underweight children in the state, Stalin said the nutritional scheme being announced by his government was to ensure the health of children below the age of six, and to “ensure all children in Tamil Nadu are not malnourished”.
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The new schools of excellence programme, modelled on a similar project by the Delhi government, 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 students.
The 708 urban medical centres being set up in 21 corporations and 63 municipalities at Rs 180 crore will function with full staff strength, including doctors, nurses and other health staff, between 8 am and 11 am, and 4 pm and 8 pm.
“There is a huge crowd in our medical facilities everywhere. So we are launching 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 allocated Rs 1,000 crore to set up a scheme which Stalin said would directly monitor the collection of grievances from all constituencies. “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,” he said.
Stalin, in his speech Saturday, 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,” he added. Stalin thanked the DMK cadre, his cabinet colleagues and allies for working hard in the first year for the prosperity of the state.
Stalin stopped his convoy en route to the secretariat this morning and boarded a government bus — the popular 29C — to ask women passengers if they were happy with his government. He recalled that it was the same bus he used to take when he was a school student, when his father was a minister.
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 600-1,000 a month. Some 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.
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