HYDERABAD: N Chandrababu Naidu, who was a ‘poster boy’ for economic reforms during his earlier stint as Chief Minister, seems to have decided to outdo other chief ministers in implementing populist schemes in Andhra Pradesh in his present term.
Despite his repeated statements that bifurcation of united AP had left the coffers empty, Naidu is ready to unveil another populist scheme to win over the downtrodden sections of society from this Dasara festival. Buoyed by the success of ‘Anna canteens’ where food items are provided at cheaper rates, Naidu is planning to copy another populist scheme ‘free dhoti and saree distribution’ from Tamil Nadu government for people living below the poverty line (BPL).
He is said to be contemplating giving ‘gift hampers’ containing dhoti and saree to people from downtrodden sections during festivals like Dasara, Deepavali and Sankranti to keep them in good humour. Social Welfare Minister Ravella Kishore Babu on Thursday said that articles in the gift hampers would vary depending on the age and family profile of the beneficiary. If the recipient is an aged person, the handout will consist of a free dhoti and saree. If the donee has school-going children, the hamper will have notebooks along with other items relating to kids.
Apart from bestowing free dhoti and saree on the beneficiaries, the government is also planning to fill the gift hamper with essential commodities and other items. The government has also plans to distribute firecrackers along with the gift hamper during Deepavali.
“Modalities of this scheme will be worked out in the next Cabinet meeting. Chief Minister Naidu wants to launch this scheme during the ensuing Dasara festival in a big way,” said Kishore Babu. “These gift hampers will be distributed to the underprivileged people,” he said.
According to sources, the government, which is struggling hard to garner financial resources to implement the crop loan waiver scheme, might have to bear an extra financial burden to implement this novel scheme.
The government is preparing a list of beneficiaries of the proposed scheme and also calculating the financial burden to be borne by it.