Web Exclusive
Five top socio-economic policies of late DMK leader M Karunanidhi

Former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and DMK Supremo M Karunanidhi passed away on August 7, 2018, in Chennai
Veteran statesman and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) patriarch M Karunanidhi, who passed away on Tuesday ( August 7) at 94, had recently become the longest-serving chief of a political party, entering his 50th year as chief of DMK. The five-time chief minister of Tamil Nadu was a prolific Tamil screenwriter and continued contributing to the field of art till 2011, despite devoting the bulk of his time to state politics. 

Needless to say, in his over five-decade-long political career, Karunanidhi has seen the best and worst a politician could possibly envisage. From becoming the chief minister when Annadurai passed away in 1969, to parting ways with M G Ramachandran when the latter floated his own political outfit ADMK (now known as AIADMK), to sitting in the Opposition following archrival Jayalalithaa's thumping victories, there is much that can be said and talked about Karunanidhi. But it was his socio-economic policies that made him a force to contend with in Tamil Nadu politics, as he reached out to the people with welfare schemes and simultaneously set the path to making the state one of India's most industrialised. Here is a snapshot of some of his key initiatives in his five tenures. 

1969-1971 & 1971-1976

Family Benefit Fund Scheme

The Tamil Nadu Government Servants’ Family Benefit Fund Scheme, later renamed the Tamil Nadu Government Servants’ Family Security Fund Scheme, was extended to employees of local bodies and the teaching/non-teaching staff of aided educational institutions in 1975. The aim was to provide financial benefits to an employee's kin on the cessation of his employment due to permanent total disablement, medical unfitness, or death. This scheme was terminated in 1984 with the introduction of Group Insurance Scheme.

Industrial growth

Tamil Nadu Small Industries Corporation Limited was formed in 1965. The purpose of the organistation was to take over the small scale units set up by Department of Industries and Commerce. Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation Ltd (SPIC) was set up in 1969 as a joint venture between Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) and the M A Chidambaram Group. The company is well diversified and deals in fertilisers, pharmaceuticals, and petrochemicals among other things. A special steel plant was also set up in Salem, in 1973. This is a part of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). 

1996-2001

Farmer Markets (Uzhavar Sandhai)

Uzhavar Sandhai is a scheme that aims to increase contact between the farmer and the consumer, thereby eliminating the middleman. This helped farmers get much better remuneration for their crops. Tamil Nadu State Agricultural Marketing Board regulates the scheme, which was stopped by AIADMK government in 2001, but restarted when DMK returned to power in 2006. AIADMK continued the scheme when it came to power in 2011. Some 265,671 farmers visited the markets in December 2009, selling 60,501 tonnes of fruits and vegetables. An app has also been functional for the benefit of the farmers.  

Kalaignar insurance cover for life-saving treatment

The Kalaignar Insurance Scheme for Life Saving Treatments, targeted at households with annual incomes of under Rs 72,000, covers as many as 10 million people today. 

Anna Marumalarchi Scheme

Anaithu Grama Anna Marumalarchi Thittam is a Centrally-sponsored, state-funded rural development scheme under which Karunanidhi's government had aimed at developing 2,500 rural panchayats.

Other than this, universities were set up and highways and flyovers were constructed. New buildings for Collectorates in nine districts came in this tenure. The bus terminal at Koyambedu in Chennai, the biggest in Asia, was constructed. 

2006-2011

Ousted by J Jayalalithaa in 2001, Karunanidhi returned to power in 2006, thereby maintaining the trend of change in government every five years. He introduced a very bold and famous scheme in his fifth tenure as CM, which provided one kg of rice at one rupee to the poor. Not only this, he arranged for the distribution of palm oil, red gram, black gram, suji, maida and fortified wheat flour under a Special public distribution system (PDS) at subsidised rates. 

His health schemes, which included financial assistance for pregnant women, found favour with Jayalalithaa as well. Under the Varumun Kappom Thittam scheme, several health camps were organised across the state benefiting a large section of Tamil Nadu's population.