DA hike for Tamil Nadu govt employees, pensioners

Deccan Chronicle.  | G Babu Jayakumar & D Sekar

Nation, In Other News

MK Stalin announced a slew of other happy tidings for beneficiaries of freedom fighters pension scheme on Independence Day

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin addresses the 76th Independence Day celebrations at Fort St George, in Chennai, Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. (PTI Photo/R Senthil Kumar)

Chennai: Chief Minister M K Stalin announced a Dearness Allowance (DA) hike for State government employees, pensioners and family pensioners from the present 31 per cent to 34 per cent, benefitting 16 lakh persons, besides coming out with a slew of other happy tidings for beneficiaries of freedom fighters pension scheme on Independence Day.

Stalin, who inaugurated a statue of Mahatma Gandhi after hoisting the national tricolour at the ramparts of Fort St George, recounted Gandhi's association with the State, which he said was based on his love, affection and an attraction to the Tamil language.

Gandhi, who was supported by the Tamil diaspora when he started his work in South Africa, was enamoured by Bharthiyar poetry and the contributions of Thillaiyadi Valliammai that he visited the State 20 times, learnt Tamil, wrote Thirukural in Tamil, addressed Avvaiyar as ‘Avvai Mother’ and made some of his key announcements on Tamil soil, Stalin said.

Among the announcements that Gandhi made in Tamil soil were that India will get independence in 1947, while addressing the people of Chennai in 1946, and his decision to wear only a dhoti, which he took in Madurai, to be endowed with the title of Mahatma in later years, he said.

The qualities that Gandhi embodied – simplicity, sweetness, honesty, discipline, humanism, secularism, equality and fraternity – were the needs of the present times and it was based on those ideals the Dravidian Model government was being run, the Chief Minister said.

Industrial development, social change and educational growth should happen at the same time and the government had been implementing a plethora of schemes with those objectives in mind, he said, pointing to the various things the government on diverse areas from industrial development, education, public health, agriculture, women’s welfare, sports, literature and others.

He said that the DA hike, announced despite the financial burden faced by the government, would come into force with retrospective effect from July 1, incurring the government an additional expenditure of Rs 1,947.60 crore a year.

While the special pension paid to descendants of prominent freedom fighters from the State like Veerapandiya Kattabomman, Maruthpandiar brothers, Muthuramalinga Vijayaraghunatha Sethupathy and V O Chidambaranar would be increased from Rs 9,000, to 10,000, beneficiaries of the State Government’s Indian Freedom Fighters’ Pension Scheme would get a monthly pension of Rs 20,000 against the present 18,000 and family pensioners would get Rs 10,000 against Rs 9,000 with immediate effect, Stalin said.

Listing out the measures of successive DMK governments in honouring freedom fighters and the series of events organized in the past one year to commemorate the 75th anniversary of freedom, Stalin announced the setting up of an Independence Day Museum equipped with modern amenities in Chennai to enable future generations know about the State’s continuous contribution to the freedom movement for 260 years.  

Though some consider the 1857 sepoy mutiny as the first war of Indian independence, the first voice for freedom had emanated from Tamil Nadu, which had resisted British occupation since 1755, when Pulithevan protested against paying taxes to the East India Company, followed by Marudhanayagam of Sivaganga, who was killed in 1764, he said.

Among the others Tamil Nadu freedom fighters of the earlier era mentioned by Stalin were Veerapandiya Katabomman, his general Sundarlingam, his cousin Vadivu, Velu Nachiyar who retrieved Sivaganga from the British after an eight-year war, human bomb Kuyili, the Marudhu brothers and Dheeran Chinnamalai.

It was the revolt at the Vellore prison in 1806 that instilled fear in the minds of the British army, he said, pointing to the fact that all the events referred to by him happened prior to 1857 to substantiate his point that the resistance against British occupation started in Tamil Nadu.

Then he went on speak about the role of other freedom fighters like V O Chidambaranar, Subramania Siva, Bharathiar, Thiru Vi Ka, Periyar E V Ramasamy, Sembaharaman, Vanchinathan, Azhgu Muthukone, Singaravelar, Jeeva, Kamarajar, J C Kumarappa, Retamalai Srinivasan, Quaid-e-Milleth, Pasumpon Muthuramalingam, Jamadagni, Rajaji and Tiruppur Kumaran.

Subsequently, the DMK governments had been in the forefront of making sacrifices by being firm in its patriotism, he said and recalled the stand taken by C N Annadurai during the 1962 Chinese aggression, the resolution moved by M Karunanidhi in 1971 against the Pakistani invasion, the funds collected by Karunanidhi during the 1972 war and the 1999 Kargil conflict, he recalled.