On a day he launched the AIADMK’s Assembly election campaign, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami announced a Pongal cash gift of ₹2,500 for each of the 2.06 crore rice cardholders in Tamil Nadu. The cash and a gift hamper will be distributed from January 4.
The measure is expected to cost the exchequer around ₹5,500 crore. The cash support alone would cost the government ₹5,150 crore. The cumulative cost of the hamper, containing raw rice and sugar of 1 kg each, a full piece of sugarcane and 20 g of cashew nut, dry grapes and cardamom, will be at least ₹350 crore.
The rationale behind the decision, according to Mr. Palaniswami, is, “Thai Pongal is an auspicious day for Tamils. This year, many have lost job opportunities owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the delta region, many have suffered because of cyclones and severe rain.”
Opening an Amma Mini Clinic at Irupalli in Salem, he said dhotis and sarees would also be given to beneficiaries.