Ministers from Tamil Nadu

Annadurai on Central Government Ministers from Tamil Nadu

Thanjai Nalankilli

TAMIL TRIBUNE, February 2006 (ID. 2006-02-02)
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Much is said these days about how Tamil Nadu has now 12 ministers in the Indian Union Government (Central Government) and thus there should be no complaint of economic or other discrimination of Tamilnadu by the Indian government. We quote here what Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) founder and former Tamil Nadu State Chief Minister C. N. Annadurai had to say about ministerial representation in the Indian central government.

"Southern India is discriminated in industrial development. No new iron plant; no new rail line; no petroleum refinery. No noteworthy industrial plant is allocated to southern India. Instead of building an iron plant, the ministry of heavy industries is given to a south Indian. Is it political skill?" (from C. N. Annadurai's maiden speech at the Upper House of Parliament (Rajya Sabha) in 1962)

Annadurai's speech is very telling. He points out that the Indian government has "skillfully" appointed a south Indian as heavy industries minister in order to mute complaints of discrimination in industrial development in south India. Annadurai would rather prefer an industrial plant built in the south than a south Indian minister in charge of heavy industries. Though he does not explicitly say it, implicit in his statement is that heavy industries ministry for south India does not necessarily mean setting up of heavy industries in south India equitably.

Forty three years have passed since Annadurai's speech. Indian government is using the same tactic today. Players have changed but the same drama goes on.

Tamil Nadu was given 12 minister positions out of the total of 66 in 2004 (more than many other states of comparable population). But Tamil Nadu is discriminated in infrastructure development necessary to attract industrial plants and other businesses into Tamilnadu. In the 1950s and 1960s, DMK was at the forefront of pointing out the discriminations. Today DMK is part of the ruling alliance at the central government. DMK has 7 of the 12 ministers from Tamilnadu. Its voice on behalf of Tamil Nadu is now muted. How can it complain of discrimination when it was given so many minister positions?

Present Tamil Nadu Chief Minister and Finance Minister have pointed out how Tamilnadu is being discriminated today (2005). Here are two examples. Tamil Nadu Finance Minister, C. Ponnaiyan, told the state assembly on March 11, 2005 how Tamil Nadu was getting a raw deal in the Twelfth Finance Commission (TFC) recommendations. Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jeyaram identified on March 20, 2005 several specific areas in which Tamil Nadu was discriminated. These complaints cannot be brushed aside as politically motivated because these statements include specific details and data that could be verified independently. [NOTE: Tamil Tribune has published several articles on the economic discrimination of Tamil Nadu. Interested reader may see Reference 1.]

Some might say that, "Tamil Nadu is doing well in the software, automobile and certain other industries. Why are you complaining?" In spite of Indian Government discrimination in building rail lines, internet cable systems and harbours, Tamil Nadu is doing well in certain industrial sectors because of the hard work of our students in their school years and hard work later at employment. But for the discrimination, the standard of living in Tamil Nadu would be much higher. Tamil people are not getting the full reward for their hard work at schools and offices and factories and farms because of the discrimination. This should change.

What really counts to the people is not how many ministers are there in the central government but how many infrastructure and industrial projects are funded by the central government in Tamil Nadu.

REFERENCE

1. Articles on Economic Discrimination of Tamil Nadu

FIS060121    2006-a1d


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