PM Modi picks Tamil terrain, CM Stalin targets Center on ‘true federalism’
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said the Center is focusing on building top-notch infrastructure and underscored its commitment to popularizing Tamil further while Chief Minister MK Stalin sticks to his “model Dravidian” and sought to recover the islet of Katchatheevu in Sri Lanka.
Stalin urged Modi to maintain the “true spirit of cooperative federalism” and said the Center should increase funds and projects for the state and called for Tamil Nadu’s exemption from NEET.
Dedicating the completed projects to the nation and laying the foundation stone for new ones, Modi said the Center is focusing on building top quality and sustainable infrastructure, both physical and coastal. The Prime Minister highlighted the government’s support to Sri Lanka and the efforts being made to reach saturation level of coverage for all major schemes.
“Our emphasis on social infrastructure indicates our emphasis on the principle of Sarv Jan Hitaya and Sarv Jan Sukhaya,” Modi said. This is the first official event attended by the Prime Minister in Tamil Nadu after the DMK took office in May 2021.
Modi praised Tamil Nadu as a special place and hailed the Tamil language as eternal and its culture as global. He quoted a popular verse by nationalist poet Subramania Bharathi in praise of Tamil and said that in every field someone from Tamil Nadu excels.
In his speech, Stalin said that TN was a pioneer, not only in economic and other related factors, but also in social justice, equality and empowerment of women. “In short, Tamil Nadu is an inclusive growth state. This is what we call the Dravidian model.” Upon receiving Modi here, Stalin presented a copy of the Tamil epic “Silapathikaram”. Highlighting Tamil Nadu’s contribution to the national economy, he said the state’s share of India’s GDP was 9.22%. In the Centre’s overall tax revenue, Tamil Nadu’s share is 6%.
Referring to other economic parameters vis-à-vis the state, Stalin said that the union government should increase its contribution to the schemes and the allocation of funds, to do justice to the contribution lent by of developed states like Tamil Nadu to the development and economy of the country. “Only then will the true spirit of cooperative federalism be maintained. “The GST compensation due to Tamil Nadu as of May 15, 2022 is Rs. 14,006 Crore. I request that it be released immediately. At a time when the revenues of many states have yet to fully recover, I requires that the GST compensation period be extended for at least two more years from June 2022.”
Stalin said ‘now is the right time to reclaim Katchatheevu’, an islet ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974. He said it was the solution to the problems faced by fishermen and would respect their rights traditional to fish in this region.
Modi started his speech with ‘Vanakkam’ and welcomed the ‘sisters and brothers’ of Tamil Nadu to the event and said that the Tamil language is eternal and its culture is global.
Referring to cities in Tamil Nadu and countries like Canada, USA, Malaysia and South Africa with large Tamil diaspora, he said the occasion of Pongal and Tamil New Year was marked with great fervor.
The Prime Minister said the Center is fully committed to further popularizing the Tamil language and culture. In January this year, the new campus of the Central Institute of Classical Tamil, fully funded by the Centre, was inaugurated in Chennai. He also pointed to the announcement of a “Subramania Bharati Chair” in Tamil Studies at the Hindu University of Benares in his constituency of Varanasi Lok Sabha in Uttar Pradesh.
Referring to the Cannes Film Festival in France, Modi said that “the son of this great Tamil Nadu soil, Thiru L Murugan (Union Minister) walked the red carpet in traditional Tamil attire and it made the Tamils all over the world very proud”. Murugan, who was on the dais, stood up and thanked Modi with folded hands.
Describing the new projects being rolled out as another glorious chapter in Tamil Nadu’s growth journey, he listed the Chennai-Bengaluru expressway and the Chennai Port-Maduravoyal elevated road project to highlight that the focus on road construction is “clearly visible” because it is directly linked to economic prosperity.
Road projects like Neraluru-Dharmapuri and Meensurutti sections in Chidambaram would bring many benefits to the people and the redevelopment of 5 railway stations in Tamil Nadu is done with future needs in mind. Such railway project initiatives would take into account local artistic and cultural aspects, he said.
The 75 km long Madurai-Theni railway gauge conversion project (southern Tamil Nadu) which he inaugurated would further open market access to farmers. During the inauguration of 1,152 houses, built under the Light House Project-Chennai, at a cost of Rs 116 crore under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Urban, Modi said it was very affordable, sustainable and eco-friendly. environment, which was completed in record time. and it’s in Chennai, he said.
Highlighting the new education policy, he said technical and medical courses can be taken in local languages and young people in Tamil Nadu could benefit from it. The DMK regime is opposed to the NEP and Modi’s comment is seen as opposition to the ruling party’s position.
India is providing all possible support to Sri Lanka including financial, fuel, food, medicine and other essentials, he said and recalled that he was the first Indian Prime Minister to visit Jaffna.
Regarding NEET, Stalin said that Tamil Nadu continually opposed the test. Referring to the anti-NEET bill passed by the Assembly and sent to the Center for Presidential Assent, he said the Center should take steps to eliminate it. Union Minister of State Murugan hailed Modi as a dynamic leader who fulfilled all assurances and said the country under his leadership was the fastest growing economy in the world.
In Tamil Nadu, the BJP is targeting the DMK regime because of poll promises it made ahead of last year’s elections. Modi received an enthusiastic welcome from the Safran party.
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