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Tamil Nadu (TN) Infographic

Tamil Nadu: South's Political Nerve-Centre

Tamil Nadu, the sixth most populous and the eleventh largest state in terms of area in India, is a poltically important state. It sends 39 members to the Lok Sabha and 19 members to the Rajya Sabha.

Tamil Nadu had a bicameral legislature till 1986. Post which, it was replaced with unicameral legislature with a council of 33 ministers headed by the Chief Minister. Home to about 66 million people, the state has been ranked as the third most developed state in India based on Multidimensional Development Index by the Raghuram Rajan panel report in 2013.

All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) are the two powerful regional parties in the state. Besides this, national parties like the Indian National Congress (INC), Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Communist Party of India (CPI), Communist Party of India (Marxist) and regional parties like Pattali Makkal Katchi (PMK) have considerable presence in the state. What is interesting is that since 1977, the state has been ruled by people hailing from the film background.

Current political situation in Tamil Nadu

On September 27, 2014 Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, J. Jayalalithaa was convicted by a Bangalore trial court in a disproportionate assets case that was filed in 1996 by the former DMK government. With this, she became the first sitting Chief Minister to face disqualification as a legislator. Soon after she was arrested, her trusted aide O. Panneerselvam took over as the Chief Minister. Many people took to the streets in Bangalore and Tamil Nadu protesting against her arrest.

Chief Ministers in Tamil Nadu

Name: J. Jayalalithaa
Tenure: 2011-2014
J.Jayalalithaa has held the office of the Chief Minister for four times. Popularly known as Amma, Jayalalithaa was a well-known film actress in the south before she joined politics. In 1982, she joined AIADMK that was founded by M.G. Ramachandran, who was the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu since 1977. She was then elected as the member of Rajya Sabha in 1984. In 1987, when Ramachandran died, Jayalalithaa declared herself as his political heir and fought the 1989 elections from the Bodinayakkanur constituency. She won the seat and went on to become the Leader of the Opposition. In 1991, her party got into an alliance with the Congress and she went on to become the Chief Minister of the state. In 1996, she lost power but was reinstated again in 2002. The tenure lasted till 2006. In 2011, she again led her party to power. However, in September 2014, she was convicted in a disproportionate assets case and sentenced to four years imprisonment and fined Rs 100 crore by a Special Court in Bangalore.

During her tenure, Jayalalaithaa introduced various schemes for the welfare of masses, particularly focusing on women and children. The Cradle Baby scheme, for example, aimed at correcting the male to skewed female ratio due to female infanticide. She established centres to adopt unwanted female babies introduced all-women police stations, libraries, stores and banks.

Jayalalithaa has been accused of amassing wealth by inappropriate means. She has been often questioned about her lavish lifestyle. For instance, in 1995, when her foster son got married, the wedding event went on to hold two Guinness records – one for being an event where highest number of guests were invited – about 1.5 lakh guests viewed the marriage on large screens; and second for using the largest banquet hall ever for the wedding.

Name: M. Karunanidhi
Party: DMK
Tenure: 1969-71, 1989-91, 1996-2001, 2006-2011
DMK leader M. Karunanidhi has been the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu five times – the last tenure being from 2006-11. He entered politics at the tender age of 14. Besides being a politician, he was also a playwright and screenwriter. His movies often touched upon the then controversial topics like untouchability, widow remarriage, etc. He was first elected to the Tamil Nadu Assembly in 1957 and holds a record of wining the seat every time he has contested in a career span of 60 years. He is fondly called as Kalaignar (artist) by his supporters.

Karunanidhi is believed to have undertaken several initiatives that have put Tamil Nadu on the road to development. He has done a lot for human welfare like disbursing free-house sites to about 1.5 crore families, aiding lakhs of families members under the Unorganised labour Welfare Boards, providing financial assistance to pregnant women and the like. Besides this, his government has built roads, promoted a casteless society, established colleges and universities, courts and commissions and generated employment to lakhs of people.

There are many corruption charges against him – the 2G scam; the Veeranam project scam, where tenders were allotted in an unscrupulous manner; corruption in the construction of flyovers, etc. He is also accused of favouring the terror outfit Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and of promoting nepotism, where he is believed to have lent favours to his children, especially his son Stallin.

Name: M.G. Ramachandran
Tenure: 1977-1987
M.G. Ramachandran, popularly known as MGR, was a well known actor, editor, director and producer. Till 1953, he was associated with Congress, but was soon inspired by C.N. Annaduari-led DMK and joined the party. He became a member of the State Legislative Council in 1962 and was elected to the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly in 1967 for the first time. After the death of Annadurai, he became the treasurer of the party while Karunanidhi became the Chief Minister. However, growing differences between him and Karunanidhi led to his expulsion from the party and he went to form his own party - Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (ADMK), which was later renamed as All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). In 1977, he became the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and remained in office till his death in 1987.

He is believed to have worked towards social development and had laid lot of emphasis on education. He improved the mid-day meal schemes and introduced women special buses. Old temples and monuments were preserved under his reign and he also introduced a ban on liquor in the state, among other developmental initiatives.

His reign is supposed to have brought about low economic growth in the state, probably due to the shift of resources from power and irrigation to social and agriculture sectors. The state fell to tenth rank from second among the 25 most industrialised states in the country. He was also accused of following a centralised decision-making methodology and there were few cases of corruption too against him during his rule.

Economy of Tamil Nadu

In 2012-13, the state contributed about 7.6 percent to India’s Gross Domestic Product. Between the years 2004-05 and 2012-13, the Gross State Domestic Product grew at a compound annual growth rate of 16.5 and touched USD 137 billion in 2012-13. In terms of investment in fixed capital, the state ranks third and in 2012-13, the outstanding investments amounted to USD 173.3 billion. The cumulative foreign direct investments amounted to USD 12.2 billion from 2000 to 2013.

Education of Tamil Nadu

As per the 2011 census, the literacy rate in the state works out to 80.1 percent, with male literacy rate at 86.8 percent and female literacy at 73.4 percent. Kanyakumari at 91.7 percent, Chennai at 90.2 percent and Tuticorin at 86.2 percent were ranked as the top literate states. This is a considerable rise from the 73.5 literacy rate that the state had recorded in 2001. The state boasts of good educational institutions and is one of the leaders in Science and Technology. It also has one of the best primary education systems in the country.

Job and Employment of Tamil Nadu

The successive governments in the state have always focused on employment generation though unemployment still features in the top five voting issues of Tamil Nadu. As per the Economic Survey 2013-14, Tamil Nadu topped the list in rural jobs generation. The state recorded 59 person days in 2013-14, which was the highest in the country. The women employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Guarantee Scheme worked out to be 84.1 percent. As per the State Rural Development Department, 37.29 crore person days were generated during 2013-14.

Airports of Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu has about five to seven airports - Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchy, Salem and Coimbatore. Chennai has an international airport and runs flights to all major cities in India and abroad.

Infrastructure: Roads, Railways and Ports

The state has well developed infrastructure and connectivity. It has a road network of about 1.70 lakh kilometres, a rail network of 4,181 kilometres and about three major ports and 23 minor ports. The road and rail connectivity are excellent. In fact, Tamil Nadu is one of the first states to have 100 percent metalled road connectivity.

Tamil Nadu Industrialisation

When compared to other states, Tamil Nadu has the highest number of factories and industrial workers. It is home to major manufacturing industries like automobiles and components, pumps and motors, leather products and castings and forgings. The key industries in the state include textiles, engineering, IT and ITES, cement, banking, financial services, tourism, electronic and hardware.


Poverty in Tamil Nadu

The percentage of people living below poverty line in the state is below the national average. As per the Tendulkar methodology, in 2011-12, about 11.28 percent people lived below the poverty line – 15.83 percent in rural areas and 6.54 percent in urban areas. In the same year, the monthly per capita income in Tamil Nadu in the rural area was at Rs 880 and in urban areas, it was at Rs 997.

Health and Sanitation in Tamil Nadu

Tamil Nadu has a serious problem when it comes to health and sanitation, so much so that it has pulled down the state’s human development index (HDI). The past years saw it perform well in terms of education and income index, but poor growth in the health index has affected the overall HDI of the state. In 2000, the overall HDI was at 0.465, in 2012, it was at 0.661. Currently it is at seventh position as compared to other states.

Women security and social security

Women security is given prime importance in the state and various steps have been undertaken at different levels to ensure safety of the women and children. For instance, the recent rape of two girls in a hostel led the state to immediately frame fresh guidelines for running a hostel. As per the new guidelines, it has been made mandatory that all the hostels have license to run them and to have CCTV camera, digital video recorder and appointment of women wardens for every 50 girls in a hostel.

Crime rate in the state of Tamil Nadu

The crime rate has been on the rise in Tamil Nadu. As per 2011-12 data, the law and order situation in the state seems to have deteriorated in 2011 as compared to the previous year. The crime rate in the state rose from 10.4 percent to 11.5 percent in 2011-12.

Last Updated on November 28, 2014