CHENNAI: Giving a comprehensive policy outline of the DMK government on priority issues, Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Monday told the state Assembly that an Economic Advisory Council (EAC) comprising renowned economists including Nobel laureate Esther Duflo and former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan would be formed to advise the Tamil Nadu government on revitalising the state economy.
The other key announcements made by the Governor in his customary address to the first session of the 16th Assembly in Tamil Nadu include a white paper on the state’s finances, separate budget for agriculture, legislation to protect students from NEET, enacting a Right to Services Act to streamline the delivery of various public services by government agencies, according priority for Tamil medium students in state government jobs, setting up of satellite towns in suburban areas and forming a committee to formulate schemes for revival of MSMEs.
“The EAC is comprised of Nobel Laureate Prof Esther Duflo of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA, Prof Raghuram Rajan, former Governor, Reserve Bank of India, Dr Arvind Subramanian, former Chief Economic Advisor to the Government of India, Prof Jean Dreze, Development Economist and Dr S Narayan, former Union Finance Secretary,” the Governor said.
While outlining the policy initiatives, the Governor also touched upon the avowed ideologies of the DMK in his speech. Asserting that the DMK government would tread the path shown by social reformer ‘Thanthai’ Periyar, the Governor said, “This government is determined to transform Tamil Nadu into a state with a society with self-respect, with an empowered citizenry enjoying their rights and which is prosperous in all respects,” amidst thumping of desks by DMK MLAs.
Reiterating that this government is guided by the spirit of the Dravidian movement, and identifies social justice, gender equality, economic equity, opportunity-for-all through reservations, and progress through education and social reforms as its core values, the Governor said these values would drive every action, every legislation, every scheme and every initiative of this government.
The Governor also reiterated the DMK’s views on federalism and more powers for the state. “Strong states are needed to create a strong Union. This government will staunchly stand in defence of the rights of the states and constitutionally oppose any infringement of such rights. At the same time, we will maintain a cordial relationship with the Union government as partners in the process of nation building, in line with our policy of extending our hand in friendship, even as we speak up for our rights,” he underscored.
The DMK government, through the Governor’s address, assured the people that it would be a government for all and not one party’s government. “This government will be driven by the fundamental principle of social justice, “everything for everyone” and will serve as a government for all. This will be a people's government and not a party's government. This government will govern in a manner that all the people in the state will be united in proudly and wholeheartedly proclaiming it, “Our government”, the Governor added.
The Governor said this government would ensure that native Tamils, especially those that have studied in Tamil-medium and government schools, would be given priority in recruitment for government posts. The requisite changes to undo past orders which are contrary to this intent would be undertaken at the earliest.
Giving a detailed account on the expeditious steps taken for preventing the spread of COVID-19 and providing treatment to the affected persons, the Governor said so far, Rs 335.01 crore has poured in as contributions to the Chief Minister‟s Public Relief Fund from various quarters and of this Rs 241.10 crore has been allocated for COVID-related works.
Indicating that the new government is ready to face a third wave of Covid as medical experts have warned about it, the Governor said all necessary measures to counter the possible third wave would be taken. “Health infrastructure is being further strengthened. All the ongoing construction projects in the health sector, including that of the eleven new medical colleges, are being expedited for early completion. A new 500 bedded multi-specialty hospital will be constructed in the King Institute campus, Chennai, at a total cost of Rs 250 crore,” he added.
Highlights of the TN Governor’s address
To revitalise the state’s economy, an Economic Advisory Council to the Chief Minister with leading economic experts from all over the world as its members would be formed.
The Lok Ayukta will be revitalized and empowered to deal with complaints against public authorities including elected representatives and Government officials.
The Directorate of Vigilance and Anti Corruption (DVAC) will be energized and pending complaints dealt with expeditiously.
A Right to Services Act will be introduced to streamline the delivery of various public services by government agencies.
New legislation to regulate groundwater use will be enacted to protect the interests of farmers and common people dependent on groundwater.
Will enact legislation to ensure that the students of Tamil Nadu are not adversely affected by NEET and will take steps to obtain the consent of the President for the same.
Satellite towns will be developed in sub-urban areas with modern amenities to decongest large cities in the state.
The preparation of the Third Master Plan for Chennai in consultation with all stakeholders will be completed well before the due date of 2026.
A Master Plan for fully realising Tamil Nadus tourism potential will be unveiled in the current year
A State Level Advisory Committee for all major Hindu temples will be constituted to enhance facilities for devotees, improve the maintenance of temples and to advise on related issues.
Native Tamils, especially those that have studied in Tamil-medium and in government schools, are given priority in recruitment for government posts.
The grievance redressal process for police personnel will be strengthened. Compassionate ground appointments will be expedited, especially in the case of those who die in the line of duty.
A white paper on the state’s finances will be released in July.
Separate budget for agriculture will be tabled in the State Assembly every year.
Uzhavar Sandhais (farmers’ markets) will be revitalized and more such farmers‟ markets will be established in the state.
This government will take all steps to achieve the target of 125 lakh metric tonnes of food grain production during 2021-22.
The Anna Centenary Library will be renovated and revitalised.
A mission mode project that will ensure continuity of education delivery will be implemented. ICT will be leveraged, and refresher courses will be delivered to children in order to make up for learning losses during the pandemic period.
An expert committee consisting of industrialists, banking and financial experts and government officials will be constituted to formulate schemes for revival of MSMEs.
Steps will be taken for establishing more industries in the northern districts covered under the Chennai-Kanyakumari Industrial Corridor and the Chennai-Bengaluru Industrial Corridor which are still industrially backward.
Singara Chennai 2.0 programme will be launched to provide modern world class infrastructure and services in Greater Chennai Corporation.
Necessary steps will be taken to expedite the Maduravoyal to Chennai Port elevated road project which was needlessly stalled.
Feasibility studies for Mass Rapid Transit Systems for Madurai, Tiruchirappalli, Salem and Tirunelveli will be taken up.
A Master Plan for fully realising Tamil Nadu's tourism potential will be unveiled in the current year.
Backlog of unfilled vacancies intended for Adi-Dravidars and Scheduled Tribes in government jobs will be filled through a special recruitment drive.