Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday asserted that the Universal Public Distribution System (UDPS), which has been successfully implemented in Tamil Nadu to ensure food security to all, would be continued despite the shortcomings in the Food Security Bill (FSB) introduced by the Central government.
Delivering her Independence Day address after hoisting the tricolour on the ramparts of Fort St George here, the Chief Minister said the Centre has been taking steps to implement the FSB which would be detrimental to the UDPS in the State.
“If the Food Security Act is implemented, the allocation for PDS rice to Tamil Nadu would come down by one lakh tonnes per annum. As such, I have requested the Centre to bring in suitable amendments. As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, the UDPS would be continued,” she said.
Giving a detailed account on the welfare schemes being implemented by her government, the Chief Minister said, “Despite my government’s best efforts, the wrong economic policies pursued by the Central government have been causing lot of hardships to society.”
Oil price fixing policy, nutrient-based fertiliser policy, FDI in retail, restricting the number of LPG cylinders provided at the subsidised rate, fall in the value of rupee, etc., have a cascading impact on the prices of essential commodities, she said, and added that “the government headed by me has been taking many steps to shield poor and downtrodden people from the impact of these wrong policies.”
The Chief Minister said The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India had said that during 2012-13 alone, Tamil Nadu had implemented 815 schemes at a whopping cost of Rs 1,00,007 crore.
In this connection, she recalled that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh while dedicating the BHEL unit at Thirumayam in Pudukottai district recently, said Tamil Nadu was a progressive State and a role model in many respects for the rest of the States.
The Chief Minister also announced substantial hike in the monthly pension for the freedom fighters from Rs 7,000 to Rs 9,000 with effect from August 1, 2013 and that the pension given to the families of the freedom fighters would be increased from Rs 3,500 to Rs 4,500.
Upgradation of 1,075 schools, distribution of uniforms, textbooks, notebooks, footwear, laptops, incentive to the students of 10th, 11th and 12th standards to check the drop-out rate, appointment of 51,757 teachers, starting of 25 colleges, three government engineering colleges, 11 polytechnic colleges, national law school, two veterinary colleges, upgradation of 52 PHCs and opening of 47 new PHCs, distribution of Rs 1,339.36 crore as maternity assistance to 15.31 women, etc., were among the welfare measures recalled by the Chief Minister.