Kerala’s Left Govt Provides Free Onam Ration Kits, Pension to Needy
Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurates the free Onam kit distribution scheme in Thiruvananthapuram on August 22. (Image courtesy: facebook.com/advgranil).
The free distribution of Onam kits by the Kerala government was inaugurated by chief minister (CM) Pinarayi Vijayan on August 22. Cardholders of Antyodaya Anna Yojana (AAY), Priority Households (PHH), Non Priority Households (NPS) and Non Priority Non Subsidised Households (NPNS) are eligible for the kits.
The decision to provide free Onam kits, each containing 14 items, including rice, ghee, jaggery, cashew nut, sugar and coconut oil, to 87 lakh cardholders at a cost of Rs 425 crore was announced on August 20 for the second consecutive year. The free kits are distributed through the Public Distribution System (PDS) shops and most of the items in the kit are procured from cooperative societies and bodies.
Apart from supplying the kits through PDS shops, the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government decided to deliver the kits to the needy, including residents of welfare institutions and remote tribal villages, at their doorstep.
“The government decided to deliver the kits directly to the 37,634 beneficiaries of the 890 welfare institutions and to the 139 tribal ‘Ooru’ (settlements). The LDF government understands the needs of the people and ensures such needs are fulfilled,” Vijayan said inaugurating the distribution.
Minister for food and civil supplies GR Anil said that most of the items in the kits are “procured from cooperative bodies run by the government while packing and supply is also done by government organisations like SupplyCo”.
Minister for food and civil supplies GR Anil distributes free Onam kits to workers in Ponmudi.
The government has also organised Onam Special Fairs in all the districts to provide food items and vegetables at subsidised cost since festive demand has triggered prise rise.
The LDF government has emphasised ensuring food security for all with frequent policy interventions. The government had also supplied food kits during the lockdowns.
“The intervention of the LDF government ensured a check on inflation in the state while it was increasing across other parts of the country. The government has spent Rs 9,700 crore on market intervention to keep a check on inflation,” Vijayan said.
The Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation, better known as SupplyCo, has been sanctioned Rs 5,210 crore for ensuring the sale of essential items at affordable rates. “Despite financial constraints, the LDF government has ensured that inflation is contained by supplying goods through 1,623 SupplyCo units,” the CM added.
“When several governments are withdrawing from the PDS and encouraging corporate takeover, the LDF government continues to oppose it and has proved that an alternative model is possible,” Vijayan said.
The LDF government also focuses on ensuring social welfare pension for individuals above 60 while and unmarried women above 50.
Earlier, 50.53 pension beneficiaries received a month’s amount in advance for celebrating Onam with everyone receiving Rs 3,200. The pension was increased to Rs 1,600 from Rs 600 in 2016. In another first, 60,602 senior citizens belonging to tribal communities were sanctioned a Onam gift of Rs 1,000 from the Chief Minister’s Disaster Relief Fund. Besides, Rs 210.67 lakh was distributed among 6.52 lakh welfare board pensioners.
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