Speech of the Honble Chief Minister read by the Honble Minister at the Southern Zonal Council Meeting, Tirupati

P.R.No:1112 Date:14.11.2021
Hon’ble Union Home Minister and Chairman of the Southern Zonal Council,
Hon’ble Chief Ministers,
Senior officers of the Union Government and the State Governments
I extend my warm greetings to you on this important occasion and I am really happy that such Southern Zonal Council Meeting is held to sort out the inter-State issues. I thank the Hon’ble Union Home Minister for his sagacity inspearheading this interaction which would certainly yield fruitful results.

Despite my zeal to attend this conference, the continuous downpour in ourState and the devastation caused by the depression due to vagaries of weatherI could not participate physically in this meeting. Unprecedented havoc causedby the onslaught of the depression requires my presence to monitor the reliefworks and redress the grievances of the affected people. Therefore, I requestyou to kindly take leave of my absence. I have deputed a senior Minister fromour State on my behalf.

The State of Tamil Nadu is known for its uncompromising commitments andpioneering milestones that it has reached in the field of social justice forestablishing an egalitarian society. It is always guided by the principles ofgender equality, economic equity, equal opportunity for all, schemes for theunderprivileged sections of the society and radical for empowering themarginalized sections. The State is known for its determined approach towardsproviding quality education with nutrition and health care apart from ensuringeffective Universal Public Distribution System in the entire country. Theachievement of the State on economic and social fronts are truly noteworthy.It is the result of focused and combined efforts towards creating a pluralisticand inclusive society with progressive thinking. I would like to highlight a few notable aspects about our State. Tamil Nadu is the second largest economy inthe country and has the maximum number of factories. It’s a well-known hubfor automobile manufacturing, textiles, leather, electronics and informationtechnology among other fields. Tamil Nadu has also the maximum number ofhigher educational institutions and technical institutes and has excellent skilledhuman resources.

Tamil Nadu always trusts in cooperative federalism with strong patriotic fervorwith equal emphasis on the rights of the State and their autonomy. It is secondto none in contributing towards National integration and upholding the principles of unity. Tamil Nadu strongly believes that the beauty of India lies in its multi-culturalism and its inclusiveness that has been nurtured from time immemorial. Tamil Nadu strives to maintain cordial relationship with the neighboring States and is the home for people from all parts of the country. When this Government took over the reins of administration on May 7th, 2021, Covid pandemic posed a big challenge with the daily infection of around 27,000 cases; soon it rose to a colossal figure of 36,000 and reached its zenith. However, by coordinating all the sectors of administration and by streamlining the  functioning of health sector, we could subdue the impact and spread of the pandemic. Our unrelenting and  planned efforts brought down the daily infection to less than thousand cases today.

We carefully and gradually relaxed the lockdown measures and ensured the quick revival of the economy.  In response to the  appeal made by me to the Corporate Sector, Non-Governmental Organizations and philanthropic  institutions, a copious contribution of Rs.537.91 crore to the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund has been   received. Further, contributions in the form of oxygen concentrators,lifesaving equipment, sanitizers,  masks, etc., were also received in large quantity. The funds so received have been used in a transparent  manner to provide relief to the Covid management and relief. Immediately on assumption of office, this  Government disbursed Rs.4,000/- as relief assistance in two installments, totaling Rs.8,393 crore to all 2.1 crore rice ration card holders in the State to mitigate their sufferings due to setback in economy. The State  has so far covered vaccination of 6.07 crore people and the vaccination camps are still going on. At this  juncture, we wish to appreciate the decision of the Union Government to centrally procure and supply  vaccines free of cost to all categories. We also thank the Union Government for helping us in establishing  70 PSAs under PM Cares Fund, which were operationalized in a record period of hundred days. Now, I would like to mention about certain other initiatives and dimensions of the State. Tamil Nadu has been  continuously making efforts to promote ease of doing business in the State and to reduce the compliance  burden for businesses and enterprises. The Tamil Nadu Business Facilitation Act, 2020 has been enacted to  ensure time-bound delivery of services through the Single Window Portal with defined timelines for  160 clearances. In order to digitize services to improve their time bound delivery, the Single Window  Portal (SWP) 2.0 was launched on 20thJuly 2021 which offers 100 digitized services spread across 24  departments. An additional 100 services are planned to be offered through Single Window Portal by 2022.  Tamil Nadu is known for its ancient culture and rich heritage.

The people of Tamil Nadu take pride in their   language known for its antiquity and profound literature. The Hon’ble Prime Minister never misses to quote verses from Tamil literature in his speeches in order to embellish an argument. It is also the first classical language of India to be accorded official recognition as a classical language. Being one of the  world’s oldest and rich language that is already a National Language in Sri Lanka and Singapore, and a  minority language in Malaysia and South Africa, we urge the Union Government to declare our Classical  Language as one of the official languages of the country. We also request the Union Government to declare Thirukkural as National Book, that signifies its secular couplets with capsules of wisdom. Tamil Nadu is a  water deficit State and in short of a perennial river flowing through its territory. The farmers toil with the  scanty groundwater and uncertain monsoon. Having a large farming population depending on traditional  agriculture for ensuring food security, protecting our rights on interstate rivers is too crucial for our State.  We are always ready to cooperate with our neighboring States and resolve the issues in a constructive and  amicable manner resulting in mutual benefit. Now I would like to dwell upon the points enunciated in the  agenda. Regarding use of UIDAI database for verifying the antecedents of marine fishermen in the high  seas, instructions have been given to sensitize as well as to create awareness among the fishermen to carry  documents, identity cards and QR based Aadhar cards and the field officers are randomly checking  the presence of Biometric cards / Aadhar cards, boat registration certificates while venturing into the sea.  During the patrolling the Indian Coast Guards / Marine Enforcement wing / Coastal Security officials are also verifying the presence of QR based Aadhar cards of the fishermen at sea.

The Covid-19 pandemic has  brought several alterations and challenges to the delivery of health services. Almost 80 percent of deaths  during the Covid-19 pandemic were among people with co-morbidities, especially with Non- Communicable Diseases (NCOs). The adverse impact of the pandemic was particularly felt in the area of  NCDs as the pandemic resulted in the disruption of treatment, increased mortality and morbidity in  patients with comorbidities like Hypertension and Diabetes. I have launched the flagship scheme  “Makkalai Thedi Maruthuvam” on 05.08.2021 to address the increasing burden due to Non– Communicable Diseases by focusing on community-based interventions to improve compliance and  control of the disease. Next, I would like to talk about transfer of Railway lands. Regarding review of policy  on transfer of Railway lands for Metro Rail Projects on permanent basis and permission to cross Railway  lines / lands, Railway land should be transferred to Metro Rail Project on permanent basis. The transfer  must be with full surface rights without any restriction when 99 percent of the market value is charged, as  is being done by other Central Government Departments / Agencies for underground tunneling work below their land. If the full surface rights are not given, then only nominal / token value should be charged  for restricted rights. In underground tunneling, even for depth less than 15 meters, only the nominal fee as  track rent should be charged. When the surface is not affected and no surface rights are given, it is totally  unreasonable to charge any such amount. On the energy front, I would like to state that Tamil Nadu has been a pioneer in promoting renewable energy sources which are eco-friendly and nonexhaustive.

The  State is blessed with hot weather, vast coastline and strong wind potential that are yet to be fully exploited  to meet its energy requirement. The State has signed several MoUs to use this potential and maximize the  returns. Tamil Nadu stands first in exploiting the onshore wind energy. The installed capacity is 8,604 MW  and it ranks among the top five States in India as far as the solar power is concerned. With an installed  capacity of 4,692 MW, Tamil Nadu also has huge potential to further harness offshore wind energy. However, we are yet to get a green signal from the Union Government to go ahead with our projects. Many  international organizations are keen to establish partnerships with our government. Therefore, we request  the Union Government to come out with a viable policy in this regard at its earliest  convenience.   In order to minimize the difficulties faced by the system operators to manage the grid with sudden change  in Renewable Energy generation, actual error percentage has to be calculated for wind and solar  generation with respect to their scheduled generation. Hence, the available capacity of wind and solar  generator used in calculating absolute error in the CERC (Deviation Settlement Mechanism and related  matters) Regulations, 2015 (Forecast & Scheduling for RE) has to be replaced with the scheduled  generation of wind and solar generation.

On the Rural Development front, regarding the implementation of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) Mission,  Under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) wages are credited to  the beneficiaries’ Bank Accounts directly from the Union Government through National Electronic Fund  Management System (Ne-FMS) since 07.11.2016. Workers’ bank accounts are seeded with their Aadhaar  Number and Aadhaar Based Payment System is being followed for improving Transparency as well as Accountability. Out of the total 92.67 Lakhs Active Workers, 91.86 Lakhs workers’ Aadhaar  details are  seeded in their Bank Account and wages for 67.26 Lakhs workers are disbursed through Aadhaar Based  Payment which is 72.59 percent. However, the wages for the remaining 27.41 percent are disbursed  through Ne-FMS and credited to the beneficiaries Bank Accounts directly. Tamil Nadu is a forerunner  among States in enacting law for providing social security cover for unorganized workers. It provides financial assistance to the families of the enrolled members in pursuing education and for events such as marriage, maternity, etc. It also provides relief during contingencies such as natural death, accidental  death, funeral expenses, accident disability, etc. The Tamil Nadu Manual Workers (Regulation of  Employment and Conditions of Work) Act, 1982 and the schemes enacted therein provide a security net to  the Unorganized Workers. Nearly 69 manual and 54 construction categories of employments are being covered under this Act.

Tamil Nadu is a model State in the implementation of the Social Security Schemes.  The Social Security Pension Schemes are extended to all the vulnerable sections of the society such as  senior citizens, differently-abled persons, widows, agricultural labourers, poor farmers, deserted wives, unmarried women of the age of 50 years and above who are destitute and poor. Currently, the Government  is granting Rs.1,000/- per month as pension uniformly under all pension schemes. The  Government provides pension to the artistes who are unable to earn their livelihood by virtue of old age  and weakness. In conclusion, I wish to bring it to the benign notice of the esteemed participants from our  neighboring States that we share many things in common. Our culture has lot of similarities. We have  grown by our policy of inclusiveness. We have common cuisine, weather and shared values. Many of our  brethren live in the neighboring States by completely merged with their culture and identities. Solidarity among us is crucial in utilizing the limited resources available with us in a judicious manner. Unnecessary  litigations and needless conflicts will result in unwanted animosity that may hinder our progress. The  universal language of love can dissolve all problems and make us march in the path of progress unitedly.
Nanri, Vanakkam.
Issued By: – DIPR, Secretariat, Chennai – 9.