“Steps have been taken to enhance purchasing capacity of people”
The State government will make all-out efforts to contain the rise in prices of essential commodities, Deputy Chief Minister M. K. Stalin told the Assembly on Thursday.
Concluding the debate on Governor's address, Mr. Stalin said the problem of price rise was prevalent not just in the State or in the country but also at the international level.
Giving an exhaustive account of the government's measures, he referred to the provision of rice at Re. 1 a kg besides pulses, edible oil and condiments at concessional rates.
Stating that the government had been taking steps to enhance the purchasing capacity of people, he said that wages to the tune of Rs. 1,847 crore were, so far, paid in the State during 2010-2011 under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, which was being implemented by Central and State governments.
At the time of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi ordering the waiver of farmers' loans of Rs. 7,000 crore taken from cooperative institutions, it was pointed out to him that the move might benefit members of the Opposition more. The Chief Minister had replied that he regarded all beneficiaries, irrespective of their political affiliation, as those belonging to the farming community, Mr. Stalin recalled.
Under the Kalaignar Housing Scheme, the conversion of huts into concrete structures had covered 30,000 dwelling units till now. By February end, two lakh houses would be covered. Apart from the original figure of three lakh houses, an order had been issued to cover three more lakhs in the current year.
Making a slew of announcements, the Deputy Chief Minister said high and higher secondary schools that had been receiving government aid would be permitted to recruit nearly 6,400 teachers additionally. This would cost the exchequer Rs. 200 crore more.
The government would start medical colleges in Pudukottai and Virudhunagar districts. An arts and science college would be established in Thiruthuraipoondi, Tiruvarur district.
Referring to the set of demands placed by the Construction Workers' Welfare Board chairperson Pon. Kumar, Mr Stalin said the payment of Rs. 1 lakh, made at the time of death of members of the Board while in harness, would be made, regardless of the nature of death.
All those members, above the age of 60 years, would be given pension instead of the present condition of five years of continuous membership of the Board and the age factor.
The Deputy Chief Minister also announced a hike in the rates of old age pension and said this would benefit 40,000 persons, causing an additional expenditure of Rs. 97 crore.
Criticising the State government on the power front, D. Jayakumar (All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam) said the power generation projects had been marked by delay in execution and completion.
Mr. Stalin listed a number of power generation projects being implemented in the State and charged the previous AIADMK government with having failed to take up power generation projects.
After Mr. Stalin concluded his reply, K. Balabharathy (Communist Party of India-Marxist) wanted to know when the government would lift power cut.