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Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Saturday said the expenditure incurred by the government on education and health cannot be construed as freebies and stated such measures were being extended to the poor and those living in the fringes.
He also took an apparent swipe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for opposing freebies but said he did not want to talk much about it as "it will become politics."
In fact, the Supreme Court has said freebies and welfare scheme were different, Stalin said in an event at the Arumigu Kapaleeswarar Arts and Science College at his Kolathur constituency here.
"The expenditure on education and health cannot be freebies. Because education is about knowledge while medicine relates to health. This government wants to implement adequate welfare schemes in both these sectors," he said.
Listing out the initiatives in Health and Education, including those delivered on doorsteps, Stalin said "these are not freebies (but) social welfare schemes."
"These are implemented to benefit the poor and those in the fringes,' he said.
In an apparent reference at Modi, Stalin said, "some people have now newly emerged with the advice there should be no freebies."
"We are not bothered about that. If I talk more, it will become politics. So I don't want to talk more about this," he said.
Modi had recently said freebies are a spoke in India's effort to become self-reliant and also a burden on taxpayer and criticised some opposition parties for engaging in the politics of freebies.
Further, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had hit out at Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal for giving a "perverse twist" to the debate on freebies, saying the AAP leader putting education and health in that category is an attempt to create fear in the minds of the poor.
On Friday, Stalin had said his government's flagship free bus travel for women scheme was not a freebie but an "economic revolution" that had ensured savings for the beneficiaries.
The different DMK and AIADMK regimes have over the years implemented various government initiatives free of cost in different sectors in the state, such as the colour TV scheme (DMK), the milch animals and laptop for students (AIADMK).
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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First Published: Sat, August 13 2022. 19:02 IST