DMK chief M. Karunanidhi passed away on Tuesday evening. He was 94. A medical bulletin released by Kauvery Hospital in Chennai confirmed the news. His demise has led to an outpouring of grief among his supporters. Karunanidhi, along with his party DMK, took a number of initiatives for the uplift and welfare of women. Below mentioned are some that he will always be remembered for.

Worked for women‘s uplift

In 2010, while addressing a function, Karunanidhi, then Chief Minister, spoke about women’s importance in the police force and other authoritative posts. The function was organised to inaugurate Mother Teresa Women’s Complex to house a permanent market for products of Women Self-Help Groups (SHGs). Karunanidhi announced that it was a matter of pride that posts of both Chief Secretary and DGP were occupied by women. Again during his term as CM, several economic and health schemes were introduced for women. These included the 33% reservation of seats for women in panchayat elections and the women entrepreneur scheme.

It was during the DMK regime in 1973 that women were inducted into  the police force. Karunanidhi also laid emphasis on legislations for providing equal share for women in family property. Also, the 30 per cent reservation for women in government jobs was enacted by the DMK

“Thirty three per cent reservation for women in local bodies has paved way for 40,000 women becoming representatives in local bodies,” Karunanidhi said in 2010.

It was Karunanidhi who declared that the Rs 15.32 crore complex in Nungambakkam be named after Mother Teresa, whose birth centenary was being celebrated. As per figures in 2010, Women SHGs had, so far then, generated Rs 17.50 crore through their products.

His schemes focused on social equality

M Karunanidhi, as Tamil Nadu Chief Minister for five terms, launched several schemes aimed at building social equality. The comprehensive health insurance scheme, introduced a few years back, for the poor is undoubtedly a huge step. The ‘Kalaignar Kappeetu Thittam’ scheme, launched in 2009, aimed at providing health insurance to low income groups. It allowed them to access high quality surgical and diagnostic care in hospitals. Most importantly,  this allowed people to access emergency medical care wherever available, and not only at government hospitals.

His progressive social policies, from legislating for self-respect marriage to ensuring property rights for women, made way towards significant social development in TN. In 1989, under Karunanidhi, many women’s welfare measures were initiated and implemented successfully. The Anjugam Ammaiyar Inter-caste Marriage Assistance Scheme, Dr. Dharmambal Ammaiyar Memorial Widow Remarriage Scheme, Moovalur Ramamirtham Marriage Assistance scheme, EVR Nagammaiyar Memorial Free Graduate Education for Girls Scheme and the Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy Memorial Maternity Assistance Scheme have benefited several women of the state.

Picture Credit: The Hindu

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