By implementing a Universal Public Distribution System and by providing 20 kg rice free of cost to all family card-holders in Tamil Nadu besides taking measures for fine tuning the PDS, Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has ensured food security for all the people in the State.
During the recently concluded budget session, the CM reiterated that no one was starving in Tamil Nadu as 20 kg rice was being provided to 1.83 crore families. After assuming charge as CM, she toned up the functioning of the PDS through review meetings and by initiating new measures so that the benefits reach the targetted masses. The mechanism to prevent illegal trnasporation of PDS commodities to neighbouring states has been curtailed thanks to the steps taken by the CM.
On December 20, Jayalalithaa opposed the Food Security Bill proposed by the Centre and urged PM Manmohan Singh to exempt Tamil Nadu from the Bill as her government has been implementing UDPS successfully for many years.
Stating that the Bill sought to secure food security thr-ough Targeted Public Distribution System and nutritio-nal support to vulnerable sections of the public like pregnant women, lactating mothers and children from six months to 14 years age, Jayalalithaa observed that through the UPDS, Tamil Nadu has been able to address the issue of food security to all without exception.
While rice has been supplied free of cost to all under the UPDS, wheat and sugar, special PDS commodities like toor dhall, urad dhall, fortified palmolein and fortified atta were being offered at heavily subsidised prices.
The CM also pointed out that no private individuals were permitted to run fair price shops and only co-operative societies and the Ta-mil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation, apart from a few women self-help groups nu-mbering 32,977 had been engaged in the task.
The annual subsidy for the PDS in Tamil Nadu was around `5,000 crore, she said adding that there was a strong administrative monitoring, vigilance and grievance redressal mechanism operating in TN in respect
A couple of days later, on December 23, 2011, Jayalalithaa announced that the State government had proposed to provide bio-metric based smart family cards. She said the move is aimed at eliminating bogus ration cards and in ending irregularities in ration shops.
And just a week ago, the CM took strong exception to the Centre’s decision to gradually reduce the allotment of kerosene to Tamil Nadu. She charged that this move would be tantamount to penalising the people of Tamil Nadu for electing AIADMK to power.
In her letter to the PM, she observed, “The Central allotment of 52,806 kl of kerosene for April and May, 2011 was reduced to 44,580 kl without any reason. Now,
the allocation has been further whittled down to 39,429 kl for the quarter April-June, 2012 again without any reason or logic.” She asked
for the original allotment to be restored.