On the 70th birth anniversary of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister late J Jayalalithaa, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched Amma Two-Wheeler Scheme, a state-funded project that was first announced by Jayalalithaa in her party’s manifesto for the 2016 elections.
Addressing a gathering at Kalaivanar Arangam in Chennai city, at which he handed over the keys and registration books of scooters to five beneficiary women from Chennai, PM Modi said that wherever Jayalalithaa is, she would be very happy to see the happiness on the faces of women here. The scheme gives 50 per cent subsidy to women to buy a scooter.
“I am happy to inaugurate her pet project,” Modi said. Praising the two-wheeler scheme and the decision to plant 70 lakh plants across the state to celebrate Jayalalithaa’s birth anniversary, the PM said that both women and nature are equally empowering.
“When we empower women, the entire household is empowered. When we give them education, it empowers the entire family. When we give them health, we make their life secure, it is the families too that get empowered and secure,” he said, adding that his government at the Centre is also working in this direction, referring to Rs 4.6 lakh crore in credit being given without any bank guarantee.
“About 70 per cent of the beneficiaries are women. In the last budget, we reduced the contribution to EPF from 12 to eight per cent for women employees for the first three years while we retained employer’s contribution at 12 per cent. Women in India now get maternity leave for 26 weeks. Registration of houses under government schemes is being done in the name of women. Under Jan Dhan Yojana, 31 crore bank accounts have been opened. Among them, 16 crore were women,” said Modi, asserting that his government is on a ‘mission mode’ to provide toilets in all government schools in the country.
He said the distribution of 29 crore LED bulbs under Ujala scheme will help to save Rs 15,000 crore in electricity bills. Listing projects that benefited the poor, especially women, he said Centre is engaged in Rs 24,000 crore worth of projects in Tamil Nadu, adding that a contribution of Rs 3,700 crore was allotted for Chennai Metro Rail project.
“When Congress was ruling, Tamil Nadu received Rs 81,000 crore under the 13th Finance Commission. After the NDA came to power, Tamil Nadu received Rs 1.8 lakh crore under the 14th Finance Commission,” he said, taking a dig at the UPA government.
In the morning, as part of Jayalalithaa’s birthday celebrations, a six-foot-tall bronze statue of the late CM was unveiled by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami and Deputy CM O Panneerselvam amid slogan-shouting by party cadres. As the ownership and management of AIADMK mouthpiece Namadhu MGR is in the custody of sidelined leader T T V Dinakaran, a new daily — Namadhu Purachi Thalaivi Amma — was launched on Saturday.