DMK manifesto: Stalin says he will press Union govt regarding state autonomy

Recalling the last wish of DMK founder Arignar Anna, the DMK manifesto repeats their demand to increase the autonomy of the state government.
DMK president Stalin
DMK president Stalin
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The Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam released an 89-page manifesto, on Saturday, and spoke about the party’s long-held demand to increase the autonomy of the state government. MK Stalin promised that the party will form a committee to consolidate the recommendations of the previous four committees, which were set up with a view to discussing the increase in the autonomy of the state. He also said that the party will press the Union government to bring a constitutional change in this regard.

In an elaborate print version of the manifesto, the DMK President MK Stalin recalled the last wish of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister CN Annadurai. In a press meet at Anna Arivalayam, on Saturday, Stalin listed several promises including, to reserve 75% of jobs in industries for Tamils, increase the reservation for women to 40% in government jobs, and appoint 215 persons from various caste groups as priests in temples.

However, in continuation with the party’s stand, he reiterated the demand for increasing the autonomy of the state. As listed in the manifesto:

State Autonomy

>In order to fulfill the last wish of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Annadurai, the DMK government started a committee led by Justice Rajamannar, Justice P Chandra Reddy, and Dr Lakshmanaswami Mudaliar in 1969, as a first in India, to research the centre-state relations. Again in 1983, DMK constituted a committee under Justice Sarkaria to reconsider the centre-state relations.

Later, the Union government formed a committee under Justice Venkatachaliah in 2000. As a continuation, when the United Progressive Alliance formed the government in 2004, DMK demanded that the Union government increase the autonomy of the state government. In 2007, the Union government formed a committee under Justice MM Punchhi. The DMK-led government once again formed a committee with government experts and sent recommendations and answers to the MM Punchhi committee. However, there was no solid decision on the matter.

Hence, the DMK will put forth the recommendations of the four committees on state's autonomy and state's relationship, up for a debate and the party will stress that the Union government brings constitutional change.

> The party will make efforts to change the education department, which is under concurrent list to the state list

> Since NEP is against the social justice and language policy of Tamil Nadu, DMK will abolish NEP.

> The party will create a state education policy and will form an education committee with educationists, to receive their recommendations, following which a policy will be brought out.

The demand to increase the state autonomy gains importance, especially since the Opposition has constantly been alleging that BJP is working against the autonomy of the state through their policies like GST, ‘one nation, one election', and ‘one nation-one ration card’. 

From CN Annadurai, who had demanded that the state-centre relation be restructured to more recently MK Stalin condemning the Modi government’s stand on Article 370, calling it a violation of federalism, the DMK has been pushing for more federalism and with that, more autonomy for states in several areas of governance. 

In 1969, M Karunanidhi had set up a committee to study the relations between the state and Union government and then put forward a resolution in the Assembly which was unanimously passed. In 2009, under Karunanidhi, the DMK had urged the then Union government for constitutional amendments in the interest of federalism. A resolution was also passed to push for the demand. Over the last decade, the party has, on many occasions like protesting the Terms of Reference (ToR) of the 15th finance commission, demanded that the states be given more decision-making power.  

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