Education and health schemes are not freebies: Stalin

Chennai: Chief Minister M K Stalin averred on Saturday that schemes providing for free education and health care services were not freebies as they concerned intellectual development and medical assistance, thus making a clear distinction between welfare programmes and handouts.

A major debate was raging in the country over freebies with the Supreme Court itself clarifying that handouts were different from welfare schemes, the Chief Minister told the students and staff members of Arulmigu Kapaleeswarar Arts and Science College at Kolathur in Chennai on Saturday.

The college, situated in the Assembly constituency represented by Stalin himself, was started recently on November 2, 2021, offering just four courses but had become popular among the local people that for admissions to 240 seats in the coming academic year, it had received 1089 applications, he said.

Making it clear that no fees would be collected from the students who would be admitted in the coming year and also from existing students, he told the students not to consider free education as deplorable.

The progressive idea that everyone should be given access to education to climb up the social ladder was borne out of a genuine concern for the welfare of the students, which was a bounden responsibility of the government, the Chief Minister said.

Taking a swipe at the group of people who were sermonizing against freebies, he said welfare programmes were launched to extend a helping hand to the poor and marginalized people and that he did not care about the critics.

The DMK government was very particular about devising welfare programmes for the promotion of education and upkeep of public health, he said and referred to schemes like ‘Illam Thedi Kalvi’ (education at the doorstep), ‘Kaloori Kanavu’ (College Dreams), ‘Naan Mudhalvan’ (I am leader), breakfast for school children, healthcare in search of people and ‘Nammai Kakkum 48’ (medical care for accident victims in the first 48 hours) that it had launched for the people’s benefit.

He told the students to concentrate on studies and not stop with studying for one degree but keep learning and obtain more degrees, particularly women students who should take up suitable jobs and stand on their own legs gaining the confidence to lead independent lives.

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