THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The food kits distributed by Supplyco during the lockdown period and subsequent months through ration shops in the state, which apparently played a pivotal role in ensuring the LDF’s thumping victory in the recent local body elections, cost the exchequer Rs 2,845 crore. With the state government deciding to extend the kit distribution till April with an eye on the assembly polls, around Rs 4,200 crore will be spent in total.
The ruling LDF and main constituent CPM had reached a conclusion that the “survival kits” distributed under Supplyco and the welfare pension given away by the government appeased the people despite the host of controversies it faced ahead of the local body polls.
According to the Food and Civil Supplies Department statistics, the state exchequer had to spend a total of Rs 2,845.79 crore for distributing the kits consisting of essentials till December. A sum of Rs 450 crore was given from the Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund to provide the kits to people, while the rest was met from the budget share of the department and funds given through additional authorisation.
As the state government has decided to extend the scheme till April, the state will have to shell out an additional Rs 1,352 crore, taking the total expense of the kit distribution to around Rs 4,198 crore. Speaking to TNIE, Civil Supplies Minister P Thilothaman said, “The kit distribution was one of the massive schemes undertaken by the state government in the history of Kerala and it has yielded results which were evident from the response of the people. This apart, the civil supplies department had also distributed special kits to fishermen, tribals, students etc at various points of time,” he said.
Cost of kits
Kit distribution during lockdown, Onam and till Dec:
Expense anticipated for kit distribution from January to April:
Total expense anticipated:
Sum used from Chief Minister’s Distress Relief Fund: D450 cr
Total ration cards: 89.38 lakh
Families that benefitted
Covid survival kits: 84.90 lakh
Onam kits: 83.72 lakh
September: 83.91 lakh
October: 83.68 lakh
Nov/December: 84 lakh each (avg)