The speech that wasn’t delivered by Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi

The speech, a policy note by the MK Stalin government, said that CAA will not be implemented in Tamil Nadu. Governor Ravi refused to deliver the speech.

BySouth First Desk

Published Feb 12, 2024 | 4:13 PMUpdatedFeb 12, 2024 | 4:13 PM

MK Stalin Ravi

A vow not to permit implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Tamil Nadu, calling out Union government for fiscal injustice and assuring that the state will remain a torchbearer of social justice and communal harmony.

These were among the highlights of a speech that Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi refused to deliver as part of his address in the legislature.

In a departure from tradition, Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi refused to read the policy note during his customary address to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly on Monday, 12 February.

The Governor’s brief acknowledgement and refusal to deliver the speech has further strained the relationship between the Governor and state government.

The 46-page, 54-paragraph document is meant to introduce the policy note prepared by the state government. Here are key highlights of the abandoned Governor’s address.

A dig at Union government on fiscal justice

The Governor’s policy address, written by the state government, highlights that Tamil Nadu has “emerged as a powerhouse of economic growth in the country”.

“With just 4 percent of the nation’s area and 6 percent of its population, the State contributes more than 9 percent of its economy,” it was stated in the address. It further stated that in 2022-23, the State witnessed real economic growth of 8.19 percent, surpassing the national growth rate of 7.24 percent.

This accomplishment not only demonstrates the state’s ability to outpace the country in terms of growth but also showcases its adept management of inflation, with an inflation rate of 5.97 percent compared to the national average of 6.65 per cent during the same period.

The Governor’s address, that he did not deliver, was also critical of the Union government on the GST compensation regime and Metro Rail fund allocation.

“When the States agreed to relinquish their fiscal autonomy, it was only under the legitimate expectation that they would receive adequate compensation until the new system could generate revenues equivalent to the pre-GST era. However, the Union government terminated the GST compensation regime on 30 June, 2022, resulting in a revenue shortfall of approximately ₹20,000 crore per annum for the Government of Tamil Nadu,” it stated, and urged the Union government to continue the compensation regime.

The address also highlighted that the Union Government has reneged on its promise to provide its share in the Chennai Metro Rail Phase-II project.

“The project was sanctioned at a cost of ₹63,246 crore with an understanding that it will be a 50:50 equity sharing between us and the Union government. The same was also announced by the Union Finance Minister in the Union Budget Speech in 2021-22. But, even after inauguration by Union Home Minister, the project has not been approved by the Union government, despite approval of the Project Investment Board,” the address mentioned.

During the event, the state inked a 631 Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) with companies committing a cumulative investment of ₹6.64 lakh crore. This is expected to generate direct employment opportunities for 14.54 lakh individuals.

Also Read: Tamil Nadu Governor RN Ravi skips speech in Assembly

Handling of unprecedented natural events

The Governor’s address highlighted the State’s economic growth and societal progress despite multiple disasters over the years, particularly “the two massive natural disasters in quick succession in the form of Cyclone Michaung in Chennai and surrounding areas, and massive floods caused by unprecedented rainfall in the southern districts.”

“The districts of Chennai, Tiruvallur, Chengalpattu, and Kanchipuram witnessed continuous and unprecedented rainfall for 44 hours due to Cyclone Michaung. The entire state machinery was mobilised on a war-footing and extensive relief arrangements were made by the Government, led by the Chief Minister,” it stated.

It added, “Due to the unstinting relief and rehabilitation works undertaken by this Government, normalcy was restored in majority of the places in few days. While the State was still recovering from the impact of the cyclone, the southern districts of Tirunelveli, Thoothukudi, Tenkasi, and Kanniyakumari were ravaged by extremely heavy rainfall and consequent flooding, which caused significant loss of lives and property.”

The address highlighted that, in response to the crises, the state government announced various relief measures, including a cash relief of ₹6,000 to 24.25 lakh affected families in Chennai and surrounding areas, and additional cash relief for families in the affected southern districts.

As there was extensive destruction and damage to public infrastructure, “An investment of approximately ₹18,214 crore in the southern districts and ₹19,692 crore in Chennai and surrounding areas is required to undertake necessary temporary and permanent restoration works. In this regard, two separate memoranda elaborating the extent and magnitude of the disasters were presented to the Union government,” the address stated.


Also Read: Governor Ravi suffering from ‘mania for space’ in media: TN Law Minister S Regupathy

State government’s initiatives

The speech categorically rejected the BJP-led union government’s flagship controversial initiative – CAA. “This government will never permit the implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act in our Stat and vows to take all necessary measures in this regard,” the speech copy said.

The Governor’s address outlined the various “pioneering initiatives” launched by the state government. This includes “Mudalvarin Mugavari” and “Makkaludan Mudalvar”, initiatives “to bridge the last-mile gap between administration and the public”.

It also highlighted the “Kalaignar Magalir Urimai Thittam” initiative “to give more than 1.15 crore women their entitlement of ₹1,000 per month directly in their bank accounts”, thereby fulfilling the state government’s electoral promise.

Focusing on the importance of education in empowering the youth, the state government introduced the “Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar Ninaivu
Pudhumai Penn Thittam” to provide a monthly cash assistance of ₹1,000 to all girl students pursuing higher education, who have completed their studies in government-run schools from Class 6 to 12.

“In the current academic year, 2.73 lakh girl students are benefiting every month under this scheme. I am happy to note that there has been a remarkable increase of 34 percent in the enrolment of girl students from government schools into colleges during the current academic year, as a result of this initiative,” the address stated.

The Governor’s address further highlighted that the Tamil Nadu government is one of the frontrunners in the country to roll out a scheme for free travel for women in town buses. The “Vidiyal Payana Thittam” initiative is responsible for “enhanced mobility and empowerment of women, enabling an increase in ridership from 40 percent to 65 percent,” the address noted.

The address hailed the “The Chief Minister’s Breakfast Scheme” as a scheme that will be the model for the entire country in the years to come.

Working towards the upholding of dignity of every individual, the state government “firmly believes that the upliftment of the marginalised is not only
the moral duty of the Government but an enforceable right of the people”. “With this idea, the Government will introduce the Tamil Nadu Development Action Plan for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes Bill, 2024 in this session” the address noted.

In an effort to encourage entrepreneurs from SC/ST communities, this Government has also launched the flagship scheme “Annal Ambedkar Business Champions Scheme”.

The Governor’s address added that this state government is committed to the welfare of farmers and development of agriculture. “With the kuruvai special
package of ₹76 crore, the State has reached a record area under kuruvai cultivation of 5.59 lakh acre. Further, under the ‘Kalaignarin All Village Integrated Agricultural Development Programme’, works in 2,504 village panchayats at an outlay of ₹190 crore have been taken up this year to create necessary  infrastructure for the holistic development of agriculture,” it stated.

The government also announced an incentive of ₹3 per litre of cow and buffalo milk supplied by the farmers, benefitted more than 3.87 lakh milk producers in the State.

Also Read: Guarantee schemes pulling 1.2 crore families out of poverty, says Karnataka Governor 

The state’s healthcare focus 

Tamil Nadu’s healthcare institutions have garnered an enviable record, solidifying the state as the premier destination for medical tourism in India.

In a record time of 15 months, the government has constructed and operationalised a state-of-the-art 1,000-bedded Kalaignar Centenary Super Speciality Hospital at Guindy at a cost of ₹240 crore, as mentioned in the Governor’s address.

Outlining initiatives in regard to healthcare, the state government launched the “Makkalai Thedi Maruthuvam” initiative to provide free healthcare services to the people in the comfort of their homes, in order to prevent the spread of non-communicable diseases.

It also launched the “Innuyir Kappom-Nammai Kaakkum 48 Thittam” initiative to provide free and assured emergency treatment in the critical period of
first 48 hours after an accident.

Higher education, employment

“This government, in collaboration with industry partners, is undertaking a project for the upgradation of infrastructure and training curriculum in 45 government Polytechnic Colleges at a cost of ₹3,014 crore and 71 Government Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) at a cost of ₹2,877 crore to meet Industry 4.0 standards,” the address highlighted in regard to the state of higher education in Tamil Nadu.

Further, the “Naan Mudalvan” programme was launched with an aim of imparting industry-relevant skills to 10 lakh youth.

The address highlighted that state government’s focus on micro, small and medium enterprises, and start-ups.

“The government has taken several initiatives for the welfare and upliftment of unorganized workers engaged in various sectors. In particular, it has launched the ‘Tamil Nadu Platform based Gig Workers Welfare Board’, which will be responsible for the welfare of more than one lakh unorganised workers engaged in web-based aggregator platforms for food delivery, car rentals, among others,” it further stated.

The address also touched upon the development of infrastructure and amenities in rural areas, the upgrading of rural roads and state highways, the expansion of civil services, and the safeguarding of the Tamil language, culture, history, and architecture.