This was PM Modi's first visit to the state since the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) came to power.
PM Modi reached Chennai's Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium and laid the foundation stones of 11 projects worth over Rs 31,500 crore, including the Bangalore-Chennai Expressway.
"Make Tamil the official language like Hindi and the official language in Madras High Court," said the chief minister.
For decades, the DMK has been demanding "official and administrative" language status for Tamil.
Addressing the event, PM Modi described Tamil language as "eternal". He quoted a popular verse of nationalist poet Subramania Bharathi in praise of Tamil and said that in every field someone from Tamil Nadu was excelling.
Stalin also urged PM Modi to retrieve Katchatheevu island from Sri Lanka to help Tamil Nadu fishermen and uphold their traditional rights to fish there.
Stalin Seeks Exemption from NEET
Stalin demanded that Tamil Nadu be exempted from National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) following the bill the state Assembly passed.
The Governor had earlier returned the bill after nearly 200 days. The Tamil Nadu Assembly had unanimously adopted the bill again and sent it to him, hoping he would forward it to the Centre. The bill has not yet been forwarded to the Centre by Governor RN Ravi. Stalin said that the state does not need him to approve the bill but to send it for presidential assent "like a postman".
"I believe the Prime Minister will realise the gravity of this issue. I want you to extend your fullest co-operation and support to Tamil Nadu. We will extend a hand of friendship at the same time, raise our voice for a cause."MK Stalin, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister
'People, Culture, Language of TN is Outstanding': PM Modi
Meanwhile, PM Modi, while addressing the crowd, said, "The people, culture, and language of Tamil Nadu are outstanding. In every field, someone or the other from the state is excelling. Out of 16 medals we won in Deaflympics, youngsters from Tamil Nadu had a role in 6 medals," he said.
He said the Centre was fully committed to further popularise Tamil language and culture. In January this year, the new campus of Central Institute of Classical Tamil, fully funded by the Centre, was inaugurated in Chennai, he added.
He even hailed Union Minister Thiru L Murugan as the "son of this great soil" and applauded how he adorned the traditional Tamil attire when he walked the red carpet at Cannes film festival in France.
PM Modi Inaugurates Infrastructure Projects
Describing the new projects rolled out as yet another glorious chapter of Tamil Nadu's growth journey, Modi listed the Chennai-Bengaluru Expressway and the Chennai Port-Maduravoyal elevated road project to underscore that the focus on road construction is 'clearly visible' as it is directly linked to economic prosperity.
"We have gathered here to celebrate yet another glorious sector of Tamil Nadu development journey, projects worth over Rs 31,000 crores are either inaugurated or foundation stones are laid. The focus on road construction is clearly visible," he said.
Road projects like the Neraluru-Dharmapuri and Meensurutti to Chidambaram sections and the re-development of five railway stations in Tamil Nadu would factor in the local art and cultural aspects, he said.
Modi further stated that a foundation stone for multi-modal logistic park at Chennai was laid to make Chennai port a hub of economic development and boost job creation.
"These multi-modal logistic parks will be a paradigm shift in the freight ecosystem of our country. Each of these projects across various sectors will boost job creation and our resolve to be Aatmanirbhar."Prime Minister Narendra Modi
Modi said that the government is aiming to develop such parks in other parts of the country as well.
He congratulated people who availed houses as a part of Chennai Light House Project under PM Awas Yojana. He said that the government is focusing on making "affordable, durable and environment-friendly homes in record time".
He said, "The first Light House Project has been realised and I'm glad it's in Chennai."
Additionally, Modi said that the National Education Policy (NEP) gives special importance to promoting Indian languages.
With the new education policy, technical and medical courses can be done in local languages, which will be beneficial to students in Tamil Nadu, he said.
TN CM Demanded GST Compensation Dues Be Released
Highlighting the crucial role of Tamil Nadu in India’s development and the Union government’s fiscal resources, the chief minister stated that Tamil Nadu's share in India’s GDP is 9.22%. "In the overall tax income of the Union government, Tamil Nadu’s share is 6%. TN constitutes 8.4% of India’s total export. TN’s share is 19.4% in India’s textile industry and 32.5% in the export of cars. In the export of leather products, TN’s contribution is 33%,” he added.
Considering the state's contribution, he urged the Union government to increase the fund allocation so as to uphold the "true spirit of cooperative federalism."
He also demanded that the GST compensation dues to the tune of Rs 14,006 crore as on 15 May 2022 be released immediately. "At a time when many states' revenues have not yet recovered completely, I demand that the GST compensation period be extended for at least two more years from June 2022," he requested.