Fulfilling some major electoral promises of the AIADMK, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Thursday launched a host of schemes, including the free distribution of laptops to students of government and government-aided educational institutions and cattle to rural poor.

The other schemes pertained to the free distribution of food mixers, wet grinders and table-fans to women carrying rice-drawing family cards and special incentive to students of Std. X to Plus Two belonging to government and aided schools.

The allocation for the five schemes this year totalling Rs.2,747.04 crore included Rs.56 crore for milch cows; Rs.135 crore for goats/sheep; Rs. 394.04 crore for special incentive to school students; Rs.912 crore for laptops; and Rs.1,250 crore for electric fans, food mixers and wet grinders.

Addressing a function held in Kakkalur, 45 km from Chennai, on the 102{+n}{+d} birth anniversary of the former Chief Minister, C.N. Annadurai, Ms. Jayalalithaa referred to the criticism of the schemes in certain quarters. Some individuals had moved the Supreme Court seeking a ban on welfare measures, which they denigrated as freebies. “Those who know economics will not agree with the denigration of the schemes as freebies, as the welfare measures will raise the standards of living of the poor; enable all to get everything; and help the people to stand on their own and become economically well off.”

Referring to the cow scheme, Ms. Jayalalithaa explained that Jersey cross-breed cows being provided to beneficiaries would help increase milk productivity. As the production would go up manifold, the scheme would eventually usher in a ‘White Revolution.'

The goats/sheep scheme, she said, would pave the way for the poorest of the poor to come out of poverty and gain economic independence in a few years.

She said her government had been formulating schemes which would cater to individual requirements and facilitate human resource development and the economic growth of the State.

Referring to Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam president M. Karunanidhi's criticism that she had placed in the Assembly statements under Rule 110 just to get commendation, Ms. Jayalalithaa said he had unwittingly acknowledged that all her announcements were meant for the welfare of people.

Finance Minister O. Paneerselvam and Electricity Minister Natham R. Viswanathan criticised Mr. Karunanidhi for the failure of his government on various fronts.

Assembly Speaker D. Jayakumar presided over the function.