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We’re pro-poor, will oppose GAIL project, FDI in retail: Jaya

Billing her government as pro-poor, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa today said it was opposing FDI or other projects such as methane extraction in Thanjavur in line with this policy.

In her Independence Day address here, she said her government had proved wrong a Tamil saying that the voice of poor doesn’t reach upper echelons and their opinions reverberated at Fort St.George, the seat of power in the rule of ‘your dear sister’.

“That is why, this government happens to be one that does not allow GAIL project, involving laying pipes through farmlands, methane (extraction) project in Thanjavur, GM crops and FDI in retail to set foot in Tamil Nadu,” she said.

Her government had opposed these firmly and strongly, she said after unfurling the tricolour here.

Her government, keen on extending a helping hand to the poor, was implementing a series of welfare schemes like free rice for ration card holders, fans, mixers and grinders free of cost, marriage assistance schemes for women like gold for thali (mangalsutra), ‘Amma’ Canteens and ‘Amma’ Salt.

As part of poverty eradication, the government was also committed to providing quality education and had allocated Rs 19,634 crore for school education sector this year, she recalled while listing the other popular schemes in the medical, agricultural and other sectors.

Incidentally, the foodgrain output touched a ‘record’ 110.65 lakh tonnes in 2013-14, she added.

Jayalalalithaa also announced increasing the pension of freedom fighters, from Rs 9000 to Rs 10,000, while hiking the family pension for their children from Rs 4500 to Rs 5000.

This will benefit 1955 persons and the government will incur an additional expenditure of Rs 1.43 crore annually.

She also increased the special pension to descendants of freedom fighters, including the fearless chieftain Veerapandiya Kattabomman, from Rs 2000 to Rs 4500. As many as 195 persons will benefit from this and the state excheqeuer will incur an additional Rs 58.50 lakh annually.

Regarding a particular nutritious meal scheme which includes provision of variety rice with spiced boiled egg implemented in select centres and schools, she said it will be expanded to all such centres and anganwadis as it was well-received among people. The government would incur an additional Rs 103.28 crore annually on this account, she said.

Later, the Chief Minister gave away various awards. Nagapattinam SP R Ponni received the Kalpana Chawla Award for Courage and Daring Enterprise for her work to prevent illegal sand-mining in Chengalpet as ASP.

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