J.Jayalalithaa: The Most Powerful Woman in India
J.Jayalalithaa: The Most Powerful Woman in India – Unique Times
On June 30th 2015, as the counting of votes was progressing in R. K. Nagar assembly by elections, the heavily fortified Queen Mary’s College in Mylapore, the venue of counting, was crowded with AIADMK followers, and media personnel. Interestingly, none among them was doubtful about the victory of their leader and Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu J. Jayalalithaa, but they were anxious about the margin of victory, for which they had worked hard the previous days. The party was looking forward to maximize the margin. At the end of the counting, adding to their joy ‘Amma’ as she is respectfully called won with a margin of 1, 51, 252 votes. A margin which shows her popularity and the kind of respect she has earned from her people.
Throughout the past years it is well seen that she is the best and suitable leader and has absolute control over the party with no alternate power structure. Jayalalithaa is well ahead in her planning and on most of the political events. She is also well versed in multi languages like Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam and English. She had also written at least one article in the yesteryear Tamil weekly named Thai. It is also seen that from the time she started her career in politics till now she always does something good for the welfare of the people like launching many projects such as the Amma Canteen, Rain Harvesting Project etc. she also rewards those who do well in the party works.
During her previous tenures, she has contributed in many ways from rain harvesting project to the development of the industrial sector and has strived for many constructive changes. She actively worked for the betterment of the welfare of her people. In the industrial side she had tried to open up the state’s economy by welcoming many national and international companies which in turn have been a major contribution towards the growth and development of the state. She has also focused on eliminating poverty, violence and corruption from the state.
The Rain Water Harvesting Movement was launched by Jayalalitha in 2011. It has had a tremendous impact in recharging the groundwater table all over Tamil Nadu. She had announced that the rain water harvesting should be made compulsory for all buildings and offices. The scheme has helped people in water-starved regions in raising water tables in most neighbourhoods winning support from activists and local residents long dependent on groundwater for their daily needs. The scheme was being implemented in rural places too with a great degree of success. She had also introduced the Amma canteen known as the Amma Unavagam. This is a food subsidization program which is Jayalalithaa’s concept aimed at helping the very poor sections of the society. The scheme is to establish canteens at multiple places in the cities and sell subsidized food at very low prices. She has also done this in order to help the women in getting a job by forming women groups to help running the canteens.
Another strategic initiative is the Amma cement scheme whereby people building houses to the extent of 100 sq ft can avail 50 bags of cement, while those who build houses with a maximum of 1,500 sq ft can avail 750 bags. The plan is that the state will procure two lakh metric tons of cement from private cement manufactures for supply under the scheme. The cement bags will be available in all civil supplies godowns in panchayat unions, town panchayats, municipalities and corporations at Rs 190 per bag.
Jayalalitha has announced a move to help mothers of new-born babies. The AIADMK Chief has ordered setting up rooms for lactating mothers in bus stations and terminals for helping the mothers with new-born babies. She has ordered to start the facility from the first of August. Along with this she has also launched housing for poor, road improvement, drinking water and livelihood training programmes for which Rs. 100 crore has been allocated this year. Under the housing for poor, a sum of Rs. 2,10,000 would be paid to eligible families to build a proper house.
She had also launched the revised marriage assistance schemes for women which include 4 gm gold for the marriage. For women holding undergraduate degree or diploma, the assistance has been hiked from Rs. 25,000 to Rs. 50,000. In the case of poor women, it will be Rs. 25,000. For both the categories the 4 gm gold will be given free. She had also launched the Amma Thittam Camps which were conducted every Friday in each village for providing patta transfer, legal heir certificate, nativity certificate and community certificate. It is reported that nearly thousands of petitions were being settled during the camps.
The Amma People’s Service Centre is the latest in the Amma series of welfare projects introduced by Jayalalitha. The service centre will be a one-stop shop for availing services of urban local bodies like corporations and municipalities. The heads of the departments will monitor the delivery of services online. It is stated that the respective officials would receive grievance petitions and settle them within a fixed date period. She is also coming forward with the schemes including improving the roads, drinking water facilities and extending assistance to the needy families headed by women.
Continuing with her streak of welfare projects in the state where elections are due next year, Jayalalitha has approved five major schemes, such as opening more Amma Canteens that provide subsidized food, housing for poor and setting up Reverse Osmosis Plants for drinking water. Under the scheme for indigent families headed by women, loans with a grant component on interest will be provided to eligible beneficiaries alongside skill development training with employment opportunities.
Jayalalithaa is always considered as the most powerful woman to rule the state by her followers. Her followers refer her mostly as Puratchi Thalaivi meant as the Revolutionary Leader. She had received several honorary doctorates and other honors, beginning with an award from the University of Madras in 1991. During 1972, she was awarded the Kalaimamani by the Government of Tamil Nadu. She is one among those few former iconic superstars who has not only attained a legendary status in the realms of films but also continue to supersede other influential public figures in the state politics of Tamil Nadu. Over the years, her transition from a popular actress to Tamil Nadu’s most powerful woman politician has been well accepted by the people over there and she has been conquered in their hearts. From the beginning till now she continues to hold firm reins over the current political scenario in the state. In 2011, she was elected as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the third time by the people and continues in undertaking many welfare projects for the state and its people.