Kamaraj birth anniversary to be declared as `Educational Development Day’
Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi on Saturday announced that the State Government would enact a law in the forthcoming Assembly session to declare Kamaraj birth anniversary (July 15) as `Educational Development Day.’
Launching the expanded nutritious noon meal scheme for school children on the 104th birth anniversary of Kamaraj, Mr. Karunanidhi said the day would also mark the celebration to perpetuate his memory by offering floral tributes to his portrait in all schools, besides expressing gratitude for his contribution to developing education.
Under the expanded nutritious noon meal scheme, eggs would be provided twice a week to the beneficiaries, he said.
Justifying the proposal to bring forward a Bill in the Assembly, rather than issuing a Government Order to celebrate Kamaraj’s birth anniversary as Educational Development Day, he said the move would make it difficult for successive Governments to modify or abandon the scheme, as it would evoke stiff resistance from the Opposition in the Assembly.
He accused the erstwhile All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Government of modifying or withdrawing many good schemes implemented by the previous Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) Government. These schemes included the marriage assistance programme named after Moovalur Ramamirtham that had benefited about 2.50 lakh women and the scheme to provide eggs once in two weeks along with the nutritious meal, he said. It became possible for the AIADMK Government to abandon these schemes as they were implemented on the basis of GOs, he added. Tracing the evolution of the noon meal scheme, Mr. Karunanidhi said the programme was introduced after Kamaraj pointed out that it would be impossible for hungry children to attend school. The late Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran converted it into a nutritious meal scheme implemented by the Government instead of leaving the responsibility to teachers.
The Government’s decision to provide eggs twice a week would improve the health of the students, he said, adding that the expanded nutritious meal programme would reflect on their efficiency to learn.
Mr. Karunanidhi launched the scheme by serving eggs to 200 children at the Chennai Corporation Middle School in Chepauk constituency. He distributed prizes to the winners of oratorical, painting and essay writing competitions held by the school. He also handed over assistance to students and other beneficiaries under different schemes.
Social Welfare Minister Poongothai said the Chief Minister had added one more feather to his cap by implementing the scheme. Minister for School Education Thangam Thennarasu said the decision to celebrate Kamaraj’s birth anniversary as Educational Development Day showed Mr. Karunanidhi’s affection for the late leader. Whip of the Congress Legislature Party Peter Alphonse thanked the Chief Minister for his gesture. Chief Secretary L.K.Tripathy welcomed.