PM flags off 2-wheeler scheme for Tamil Nadu women

2-wheeler scheme for Tamil Nadu women,
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday flagged off a two-wheeler scheme for women sponsored by the state government on the 70th birth anniversary of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and supremo of the ruling party, J Jayalalithaa. The PM also launched the Amma Scooter Scheme, another populist scheme announced by Jayalalithaa as part of the election manifesto before the Assembly election in 2016. 

Speaking at the event, the Prime Minister said that when Congress was in power at the centre, Tamil Nadu only received Rs 810 billion under 13th Finance Commission. However, with NDA coming to power, Tamil Nadu got funds worth Rs 1,800 billion under 14th finance commission, an increase of about 120 per cent. He said, projects worth Rs 240 billion are being implemented by the Centre in Tamil Nadu.

After assuming the chief minister’s post formally in February 2017, Edapadi K Palanisamy had signed five schemes which included subsidised scooters for working women and increased maternity benefits for poor women. The scheme would cost the state around Rs 2 billion.

This scheme would provide 50 per cent subsidy for working women to buy two-wheelers. For this scheme, the state government will extend 50 per cent subsidy or Rs 25,000, whichever is lower, for the purchase of a moped or less than 126-cc automatic scooter of the candidate’s choice.

The Prime Minister’s visit to launch the scheme has drawn criticism from certain quarters, triggering speculations that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is interfering with the internal matters of the AIADMK, taking advantage of the demise of its leader Jayalalithaa. While BJP has dismissed the speculations, Panneerselvam recently commented that that the merger of his faction with that of Palaniswami was on the Prime Minister’s advice. An icon of Tamil cinema and referred to as Amma by political supporters, Jayalalithaa passed away on December 5, 2016, after suffering from prolonged illness. 

Her death led to creation of factions within the ruling party, All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK).
Earlier in the day, a full-size statue of the late leader was unveiled by Chief Minister E Palaniswami and Deputy CM O Panneerselvam. They also launched Namadhu Puratchi Thalaivi Amma, the party’s mouthpiece.

The daily is similar to the one that Jayalalithaa had launched after the death of her mentor and party leader M G Ramachandran in the 1980s. Titled Namadhu MGR, it was published from Chennai and ran successfully until Jayalalithaa’s death. After the AIADMK’s inner split, the daily went to jailed leader and Jayalalithaa’s close aide V K Sasikala's family along with the television channel, Jaya TV.

Jaya TV, launched in 1999, also experienced a bitter power struggle after Jayalaithaa's death and the party split into factions led by EPS-OPS and TTV Dhinakaran. According to reports the editor of the new daily would be Namadhu MGR's editor Marudhu Azhaguraj, who was removed from office by Sasikala’s family in August last year. Unlike Namadhu MGR, Namadhu Puratchi Thalaivi Amma will be published from major cities in the state.

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