CHENNAI: Joining the debate on freebies offered by political parties, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Saturday said spending on education and healthcare of the public cannot be described as “freebies”. Apparently taking a swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had shunned the political culture of offering freebies to score electoral victories, the chief minister said social welfare schemes are not freebies since they are offered to help the needy and the marginalised.
“Some people have now emerged with advice that there should be no freebies. We don’t bother about that. I refrain from speaking more on this subject since it would be tantamount to bringing in politics here,” Stalin said at a function of the Kapaleeswarar Arts and Science College in his constituency, Kolathur.
The chief minister also referred to the Supreme Court’s verdict that welfare schemes are different from freebies, and said a big debate is going on across the country in this regard. He said that at the college in Kolathur, the state government offered free classes for first-year students, and this will now be provided for second-year too. Stalin also pointed out that exemption from paying fees is given out of the state government’s concern for students. “We do this as our duty towards the students.”
The chief minister further said his government has been implementing schemes such as Illam Thedi Kalvi, Kalloori Kanavu, Naan Mudhalvan, free breakfast for school students, and Makkalai Thedi Maruthuvam.