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Welfare and federal push, run-ins with Governor: How Stalin ‘Year One’ shaped up

On finishing a yr in workplace, DMK chief and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin on Saturday referred to the legacy of his father and former CM M Karunanidhi. “I am not ‘Kalaignar (how Karunanidhi was popularly known as)’,” Stalin advised the Assembly. “I cannot speak like Kalaignar, I cannot write like him. But I had taken the pledge that I would work hard like him. Let me tell you that I kept that word, and that is my satisfaction at this moment.”

The first year was marked by long-term planning to implement Stalin’s imaginative and prescient for the state, welfare schemes and insurance policies geared toward serving to the poor and the marginalised, testing interactions with the BJP-led Centre, a difficult law-and-order state of affairs, and run-ins with Governor RN Ravi.

The greatest problem for the federal government, which has a seemingly higher governance monitor file than many administrations within the current previous, is that it doesn’t have too many loyalists within the state forms that was managed by the AIADMK for a decade.

“Most of the DMK loyalists who played a key role in the previous DMK government have retired. Even as Stalin has categorically warned ministers and the top bureaucracy against making money from promotions, transfers, appointments, and other popular money-making ‘sectors’, corruption continues to be a challenge,” stated a high authorities official.

But Stalin’s centralised model of working, strict monetary administration, a full-fledged analysis workforce below Finance Minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan, a battalion of senior bureaucrats, together with Chief Secretary V Irai Anbu and CM secretaries P Umanath and T Udhayachandran, stored the system practical over the previous yr.

Focus on social justice

One of the key highlights of the Stalin authorities has been an try and implement its imaginative and prescient from the get-go. With ministers who’ve deep area information of their areas (comparable to Rajan) and by constructing a strong analysis workforce backed by internationally famend consultants comparable to Esther Duflo, Jean Drèze, and Raghuram Rajan, the federal government’s each scheme and announcement up to now has been with a long-term plan in thoughts. The schemes have been extra outcome-oriented than specializing in motion or short-term positive aspects. An instance is a Universal Health Coverage programme that’s presently being designed.

In the primary yr, the federal government labored to make sure development and improvement, with a concentrate on social justice. Some of the schemes enacted are free journey in authorities buses for working ladies and transgender folks, the appointment of non-Brahmin clergymen, an open name for skilled ladies clergymen to be appointed in temples, a separate agriculture price range, recognition of single ladies separated from their households or mother and father as “family” in order that they’ll get ration playing cards, and the newest breakfast scheme for schoolchildren.

The DMK-led administration was additionally assertive in employment era, investments, the export sector, and different industrial growth tasks. Another focus for the federal government was “Tamil”. It got here up with schemes and tasks for the Tamil language, libraries, a particular curiosity in excavation tasks in Keeladi and several other different archaeological websites, and an allocation of over Rs 300 crore for Sri Lankan Tamil refugees to renovate their camps and for his or her livelihoods.

Corruption and different challenges

“When we are doing much for the poor, weaker sections, and planning big investment, infrastructure projects for the upper class, it is the middle class that is seemingly neglected, most affected, due to the corruption,” stated a senior DMK chief. “It has not changed a bit. A strong message against corruption has not gone down yet. In fact, the government is still trying to figure out the officers whom they can trust.”

The functionary claimed that the occasion’s success in native our bodies additionally poses a threat. Said a DMK minister, “It is just that not many cases have come out in public but there are clear signs of DMK councillors and local leaders asserting power, abusing power, and using violence.”

The first yr additionally wasn’t nice by way of legislation and order both. With instances of custodial deaths and police excesses rising, a number of officers advised The Indian Express {that a} mixture of things makes the police’s job troublesome. A brief-staffed police power and a judicial system struggling to clear pending instances contribute to the pressures on the police.

“When lakhs of cases are pending and courts fail to deliver verdicts, the police force collectively turns to normalising extrajudicial acts for instant justice. As a state with more economic activities, financial and crypto crimes are also on the rise. There was a little effort to increase the staff strength while suicides due to work pressure are happening often. At least 100 policemen have died in the state, including accidents and suicides, in the past four months. As women personnel are spared from certain security duties — besides, their maternity leave was increased from six months to nine months — the stress factor steadily builds up in the force,” stated an officer of the rank of Inspector General.

BJP and federal rights

A supply near the chief minister stated strategic exchanges with the BJP-led Centre proceed to be an enormous problem for Stalin, “especially in religious politics”. While being cautious in its dealings with the Centre, the state administration, in its first yr, additionally raised the problem of federal rights and bought right into a battle with Governor RN Ravi. Besides making laws that both bypassed or denied the Governor’s powers, the Tamil Nadu authorities additionally transferred to itself the Governor’s energy to nominate vice-chancellors.

Inside the DMK, Stalin and his household proceed to wield unquestionable authority. The occasion’s senior management expects setbacks and criticism when the chief minister’s son Udhayanidhi is introduced into the state Cabinet, a transfer that’s anticipated by June. However, the person presently working the present is Stalin’s son-in-law V Sabareesan.

“Sabareesan is the key strategist. He is a good man,” stated a DMK minister. Another minister stated Sabareesan had no private agenda or plans. “Whatever Stalin wants, Sabareesan works towards that,” he added. “He is like what Amit Shah was for Narendra Modi once, or like how VK Sasikala functioned for the late Jayalalithaa. He has no formal positions in the party or government but he is the man running the show. He isn’t involved in government functions daily but closely monitors party affairs. He has a huge stake in everything.”

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