The ruling DMK government has changed the way government announcements are made during Assembly sessions in Tamil Nadu. The past decade saw all key announcements being made only by the chief ministers of the AIADMK by taking the Rule 110 route of the Assembly, but the DMK has changed that.
Since the Demand for Grants session began early this month, at the end of debate for Grants, the concerned ministers are making the announcements in the presence of Chief Minister Stalin in the House.
Unlike during the Jayalalithaa government, the new format gives all ministers an opportunity to make the announcements.
The government has also refrained from changing former chief minister Edappadi Palaniswami’s photo from school bags meant to be distributed to children by the Primary Education Department, thereby saving the state exchequer of spending an additional ₹13 crore.
Before 2021, announcements like the construction of check dams across various rivers within Tamil Nadu, laying a bridge between the Vivekananda Rock and Thiruvalluvar Rock in the middle of Indian Ocean, or constructing over-bridges at various places in Chennai, would have been only made by the chief minister. Now ministers, who earlier under Rule 110 were required to seek prior permission to make a statement in Assembly, have been empowered to do the same.
“Whether it was former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa or Edappadi Palaniswami, these (above mentioned) announcements would have been made only under Rule 110 and that too the next day after the concerned department’s demands were passed by the Assembly. But in the present Assembly session, all important announcements are being made only by the ministers,” said a senior IAS officer.
As per the Tamil Nadu Assembly rules, under Rule 110, a statement may be made by a minister on a matter of public importance with the consent of the Speaker and there shall be no debate on such statement at the time it is made.
“A minister desiring to make a statement under sub-rule (1) shall intimate in advance the date on which the statement is proposed to be made and also send a copy of the statement in advance to the secretary for being placed before the Speaker,” say Assembly rules.
The rules state that when any statement made by a minister on the floor of the House either by way of answer to a question (main or supplementary) or under Rule 110 or otherwise is found to be incorrect by the minister, he may, with the permission of the Speaker make a further statement either in the same sitting or at any time thereafter.
In the current assembly session, Stalin has used Rule 110 only once, to announce a memorial for his father and former chief minister M Karunanidhi on the Marina for a cost of ₹39 crore, which was welcomed by all party MLAs.