Tamil Nadu

T.N. government recognises climate change as key problem facing humanity, says CM

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin inaugurated at MSSRF in Chennai on Friday. Looking on are (From left) M. S. Swaminathan, founder-chairman, MSSRF, Ma. Subramaniam, Minister for Health, N. Ram, Director, The Hindu Group of Publications and Madhura Swaminathan, chairperson, MSSRF   | Photo Credit: S.R. Raghunathan

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.K. Stalin on Friday said that the State government recognised climate change as a very important issue facing humanity and urged environmentalists to reach out to the government with ideas to tackle the problem.

Addressing the inaugural session of an international conference on ‘Ensuring food and nutrition security in the context of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic’ at M.S. Swaminathan Research Foundation here on Friday, he said that the impact of climate change was increasingly being felt every day. He said that monsoons had become difficult to predict and there were reports that a few places in the world were reaching wet-bulb temperatures, beyond which the human body would lose the ability to cool itself.

Highlighting that the State government was keen to initiate measures to tackle climate change and protect nature, he said it was ready to take all suggestions from environmentalists with an open mind.

The CM said that the government was committed to becoming self-sufficient in food production, increasing the spread of agricultural land, and making agriculture profitable to farmers. He listed several measures already being planned, including a separate budget for farming, special focus on organic farming, revitalising farmers’ markets, forming village markets, and regulating groundwater usage.

Lauding the contributions of eminent agriculture scientist and founder of MSSRF, M.S. Swaminathan, the Chief Minister said the scientist had made the State proud. Wishing him for his 96th birthday falling on Saturday, Mr. Stalin said he was looking forward to participating in Mr. Swaminathan’s 100th birthday celebrations.

He recollected how late Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi readily agreed to allot land and provide all support when Prof. Swaminathan, accompanied by the Director of The Hindu Publishing Group N. Ram, met him in 1989 with the idea of setting up MSSRF.

Mr. Ram commended the new Tamil Nadu government for its approach to governance in facing several challenges so far. Rooted firmly in the values of rationalism, science and social justice, he said that the present government led by Mr. Stalin has set its priorities with clear sight and brought transparency and accountability to the fore. He highlighted in particular how the State government has assembled world-class expertise to advise on developing the State’s economy around the core of social justice.

Prof. Swaminathan recollected Mr. Karunanidhi’s contributions and the importance the latter gave to science and technology, particularly in their use in agriculture. Stating that the present government was continuing governance in that tradition, he complimented Mr. Stalin for his efforts to make the State progressive in agriculture. He said that farmer-centric agriculture with adequate scientific support and assured and remunerative marketing facilities were the need of the hour.

Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organisation, congratulated the latest ‘Makkalai Thedi Maruthuvam’ health initiative of the Tamil Nadu government that aimed to take healthcare to the doorstep of the people.

Highlighting how the pandemic disrupted essential health services, she said that this initiative of the government was an important step in ensuring universal health coverage.

Madhura Swaminathan, chairperson, MSSRF, said that 40 experts and 1,200 persons from 13 countries were participating in the conference and the policy recommendations coming out of the conference would be shared with the State and Central governments.

K.S. Murali, executive director, MSSRF, presented the annual report.


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