First major announcement from Tamil Nadu Chief Minister-elect MK Stalin: Check what's in it!

Inducting journalists and media persons into the ambit of frontline workers have been an incessant demand kept before the Union government to ensure that they get all the entitlements and benefits as the other frontline workers while covering the pandemic and the health crisis on the ground. Though the Center is yet to wake up to this demand, several state governments have been announcing that the journalists will be considered as frontline workers. 

In line with that, MK Stalin has on Tuesday made his first major announcement as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister-elect as he has declared that the journalists will be henceforth considered as the frontline workers. His announcement has come a day after the DMK alliance has won the Tamil Nadu elections with a resounding majority. DMK will be taking over the reign after a decade by ousting the ADMK regime and Stalin is all set to become the next Chief Minister. 

The major ordeal for his rule would be addressing the health crisis and containing the pandemic and soon after the victory, the reports say that he has begun framing the measures and containment strategies to curb the spread after coming to the power. The announcement of considering journalists as the frontline workers is part of his framework and recognizing the on-ground reporters as the warriors. Taking to Twitter on Tuesday, MK Stalin said that the members of the media who work hard irrespective of the weather and the pandemic will be considered frontline workers. 

The Chief Minister-elect wrote, "The entitlements and support that are being provided to frontline workers will be provided to the members of the media as well", he tweeted in Tamil. Stalin's announcement has come a day after West Bengal Chief Minister-elect Mamata Banerjee declared all the journalists in the state as COVID warriors. Banerjee's announcement has come hours after Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan declared all journalists as frontline workers.

After Stalin announced that the journalists will be considered as the frontline workers in what has become his first major announcement as the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister-elect, several journalists in the state have been welcoming the announcement. Inducting the journalists into the ambit of the frontline workers has been a long-term demand before the Central government since the outbreak began. 

According to reports, around 100 journalists in India had passed away due to the COVID-19 viral infection since April 1, 2020, of which at least 52 journalists have died since April 1, 2021. Though being aware of the threats and risks that the journalists face on the ground while reporting the pandemic situation, the Central government didn't consider declaring them as frontline workers. The reports underlined that in light of not being considered as the frontline workers, the journalists were not eligible to receive vaccinations on a priority basis. 

The Editors Guild of India, one of the national bodies of media consisting of several veteran journalists, has incessantly urged the Central government to announce vaccinations for media persons on priority, but the Union government hasn't considered their requests. As Chief Minister-elect MK Stalin announced that the journalists will be considered as the frontline workers, Tamil Nadu has become one of the first line Indian states to set a crucial precedent and declare the journalists as the frontline workers. 

Tamil Nadu had gone through the assembly polls on April 6 and the votes were counted on May 2 and the election commission has on Monday officially declared the results that the DMK alliance has won 159 seats, 40 seats more than the majority mark of 118, while the ADMK alliance has won 75 seats and ended the race with a drastic decline. On Monday, ADMK's Edappadi Palaniswami has resigned from the post of Chief Minister after conceding the defeat and his successor MK Stalin will become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu for the first time.