Chennai: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Thursday implemented AIADMK’s electoral promise by giving away cattle, consumer durables and laptops to the deserving poor.
Speaking at the launch at a school in Kakkalur in Thiruvallur district, around 50 km from Chennai, she said that her government’s welfare schemes should not be belittled as “doles” or “freebies”.
These, she insisted, were designed to battle poverty in rural areas.Earlier, the Supreme Court had declined a stay the Tamil Nadu government’s declared intention of launching the schemes Thursday, the 103rd birth anniversary of former Tamil Nadu chief minister C.N. Annadurai.
The court will hear Friday a case filed by Chennai-based advocate S. Subramaniam Balaji, in which the constitutional validity of the “freebie” schemes has been challenged.
“Some have gone to the Supreme Court demeaning the welfare schemes as freebies,” Jayalalithaa said at the launch. “Those who know economics will not demean these schemes.
“Thirty percent of the beneficiaries under the free cow and goat schemes would be Adi Dravidars. Within one or two years, the beneficiaries will be able to stand on their own feet,” she added.
In the first phase, the government hopes to cover 25 lakh families out of the targeted 1.8 crore for distributing free fans, mixies and grinders, involving an outlay of Rs.1,250 crore.
The government has set aside Rs.912 crore for distributing 9.12 lakh laptops to students of government-owned and government-aided educational institutions.
Another Rs.56 crore has been earmarked for giving away milch cows to 12,000 poor rural families. Over five yeas, 60,000 cows will be distributed.
Four goats or sheep, according to the government’s intent, will be given to around one lakh families. The scheme will cost Rs.135 crore this year.