Pongal gift hampers unlikely, but ration card holders may get cash, rice & sugar
A few days ago, Chief Minister M K Stalin held a meeting on distribution of cash assistance and additional rice and sugar to ration card holders.
Published: 22nd December 2022 04:53 AM | Last Updated: 22nd December 2022 04:53 AM | A+A A-
CHENNAI: Ration card holders in Tamil Nadu may not get the gift hamper of grocery items for Pongal but talks are on to give cash assistance and provide additional raw rice and sugar for the festival.
A few days ago, Chief Minister M K Stalin held a meeting on distribution of cash assistance and additional rice and sugar to ration card holders. An official announcement on the outcome of the meeting is still awaited.
The state food and cooperation departments have not yet invited tenders for procuring goods for the four-day festival to be celebrated between January 15 and 18. Orders have also not been placed for procuring sugarcane, which has long been part of the state’s Pongal gift to PDS card holders. In January this year, Pongal gift hampers with 20 grocery items were given away to 2.15 crore rice card holders.
Minister for cooperation K R Periyakaruppan told reporters on Wednesday that during the AIADMK regime, between 2011 and 2021, Pongal gift was not given for four years. “Not only cash, but groceries too were not given to PDS card holders for several years during the AIADMK regime,” he said.
When asked about the status of Pongal gifts this year, Periyakaruppan said the practice of providing Pongal gifts was started in 2008 by then CM M Karunanidhi. “Pongal gifts were never distributed every year. The department is prepared to implement the directions of the CM. We are awaiting government’s decision (on the issue),” Periyakaruppan said.
Agriculture loans worth Rs 5 cr waived, says minister
AS per official data, of the 2.15 crore ration card holders in Tamil Nadu, 99.4% of them had received cash assistance of Rs 2,500 distributed through ration shops in January last year and Rs 4,000 in two installments in June and September last year.
Distribution of cash gift along with other items for Pongal festival was first introduced in January 2014 with Rs 100 cash and one kg each of raw rice and sugar. This has been the case ever since with the exception of 2015. In 2019, the cash component was increased from Rs 100 to Rs 1,000, and it was hiked to Rs 2,500 in 2020. In 2021, Rs 2,500 cash was given for each cardholder along with the gift.
Earlier, Periyakaruppan said cooperative banks have distributed agriculture loans to the tune of Rs 10,290 crore last year and this year, the target is Rs 12,000 crore. Periyakaruppan said loans worth Rs 5,013 crore taken by 14.13 lakh families have been waived off completely.
“Except those who have not provided assurance certificate that they are not employed in government sector, jewel loans have been waived for all others,” the minister said.