Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin, in his address at the same event, highlighted the state’s contribution to national economy to raise a number of long-pending demands such as payment of GST dues from the Centre.
In his first visit to Chennai after the DMK government took charge last year, the Prime Minister said, “It is always wonderful to be back in Tamil Nadu. This land is special. The people, culture and language of this state are outstanding.”
On the importance of infrastructure projects, he said, “History has taught us that those nations which gave topmost importance to infrastructure made the transition from developing to developed countries… The Government of India is fully focused on building infrastructure that is top quality and sustainable.”
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The new projects he rolled out on Thursday included the Rs 500-crore Madurai-Theni gauge conversion project, Rs 590-crore third Tambaram-Chengalpattu railway line project and the inauguration of 1,152 houses as part of the Chennai Light House project. The Prime Minister specifically mentioned the Chennai Light House project, which was executed under the PM-Awas Yojana.
He also said the Centre is committed to further popularise Tamil language and culture. Praising Tamil language as “eternal” and Tamil culture as “global”, he said, “From Chennai to Canada, from Madurai to Malaysia, from Namakkal to New York, from Salem to South Africa, occasions of Pongal and Puthandu are marked with great fervour.”
Quoting verses of nationalist poet Subramania Bharathi, he said the new campus of the Central Institute of Classical Tamil, which was inaugurated in Chennai last January, was funded by Centre.
In his address, Chief Minister Stalin said Tamil Nadu is a leading state in economic growth, rural health facilities, educational facilities, social justice and women’s empowerment. This inclusive growth model of Tamil Nadu is called “Dravidian Model”, he said.
He raised the long-pending demands of the state government, including retrieval of Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka and payment of GST dues worth Rs 14,006 crore as on May 15, 2022. He also asserted the state’s opposition to NEET and requested the Prime Minister’s intervention to clear the anti-NEET Bill passed by the Assembly and sent for Presidential assent.
Stalin listed the state’s contribution to India’s development – 9.22% in national GDP and 6% of overall tax income among others. “But the revenue share that we get from the Union government is just 1.23%,” he said. The Centre must increase its contribution to schemes and fund allocation to do justice to the contribution lent by states such as Tamil Nadu in India’s development, he said. “Only then will the true spirit of co-operative federalism be upheld.”