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Taking populism to the next level in an election year, the AIADMK government on Wednesday announced that over two crore families with ration cards in the State would each get 1,000 in cash as a Pongal gift.

The largesse, “to celebrate Pongal festival, mitigate the impact of Cyclone Gaja in the Cauvery delta and the widespread drought in northern districts”, would cost the exchequer over 2,000 crore and push the overall food subsidy to 8,000 crore this year. Already over 1.84 crore ration card holders get free rice, officials said.

Governor Banwarilal Purohit made the announcement in his customary address to the first Assembly session of the year. He said the State government would give a cash support of 1,000 to every family with a ration card. Officials clarified that all cardholders, not just rice cardholders, would get the gift. The government had distributed Aadhaar-linked smart cards to 2.01 crore families, they added.

The cash incentive is over and above the usual Pongal hamper to all ration cardholders in the State. The gift hamper contains raw rice, sugar, raisins, cashewnuts, cardamom and sugarcane.

The distribution of cash support would not happen in Tiruvarur district, as the Model Code of Conduct was in force there.


English Summary

All ration cardholders to benefit

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