Jayalalitha – The Iron Lady of Tamil Nadu

Jayalalitha, former Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and ‘Amma’ to millions, breathed her last at the Apollo Hospitals in Chennai on Monday. She served five terms as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, for over fourteen years between 1991 and 2016. She was a leading actress before entering into politics and was also known as ‘Queen of Tamil Cinema’ due to her versatility in acting. She had acted in 140 movies including regional movies and was the highest paid Indian actress from 1965–80.
After being introduced into politics by late CM Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran, the actress-turned-politician left her stamp on the state by winning two elections in a row in Tamil Nadu.

What should Jayalalitha be remembered for?

1. Her work during Tsunami disaster in Tamil Nadu in 2004

The Tsunami in the Indian Ocean on December 26th, 2004 had a devastating effect on India. According to the Indian government, almost 11,000 people died in the tsunami and over 5,000 are missing and feared dead. The vast majority of the casualties came from the state of Tamil Nadu (8,000). Nagapattinam district was the worst hit region of Tamil Nadu, accounting for over half of the deaths (5,500) from the tsunami on the Indian mainland. She ensured free medical check-ups in villages for poor to prevent the outbreak of disease. When tsunami and floods came she handled the situation properly to ensure diseases don't spread and insurance claims reach the victims fast. She arranged marriages for many couples especially belonging to a poor section of society.

2. Global Investors Meet in September 2015

A Global Investors Meet event was held on September 2015 in which the Jayalalitha government attracted close to Rs 2.42 lakh crore in investments. She was lauded for ensuring huge investments. She grew Tamil Nadu GDP from Rs.4+ Lakh Crore to Rs.11+ Lakh Crore and made Tamil Nadu No.2 in India next only to Maharashtra which is twice the size of land and population than Tamil Nadu. Tamil Nadu is also the No.1 state in Auto Industry, Leather Industry and Textile industry in India.

3. Launch of Amma Canteen in 2013

Amma Unavagam (Canteen) is a food subsidisation programme run by the Government of Tamil Nadu in India. Under the scheme, municipal corporations of the state-run canteens serving subsidised food at low prices.
Amma canteen Pricing:

Rs 1 per idly Rs 3 curd rice
Rs 5 sambhar rice
Rs 10 chappati and dal

Having such low prices ensured every poor can feed themselves properly by having even less than Rs. 15 in their pocket and also the quality of food is very good.

4. Rainwater Harvesting scheme in 2001

Tamil Nadu experiment with the alternative water conservation technique of rain water harvesting (RWH) is a rare success story. The RWH scheme, a brainchild of Jayalalitha, was launched in 2001 in the state despite opposition from many people. The CM made RWH mandatory for all government and residential buildings. The scheme soon helped people in water-starved regions such as Chennai by raising water tables in most neighbourhoods.

5. End of Veerappan in 2004

Veerappan was an Indian dacoit. He was active for nearly 30 years in the scrub lands and forests in the states of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Jayalalitha instructed Police to catch Veerappan in the same manner as Obama later instructed to catch Osama. Operation Cocoon was the operation launched by the Special Task Force of Tamil Nadu Police to nab the forest brigand Veerappan and his associates, who were dominant in Sathyamangalam Forest in the South Indian states of Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. Veerappan was shot dead in the operation on 18 October 2004 along with his associates.

Source: Various Articles