Chennai: Following the footsteps of the NDA Government’s sop-laden interim budget, the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami announced that Rs 2,000 will be given to each of the 60 lakh families living Below Poverty Line (BPL) in the state.
This would cost the state exchequer Rs 1,200 crore. What came in a surprise was that Palaniswami made the suo motu announcement in the Legislative Assembly just three days after his deputy in government O Panneerselvam, who holds the Finance portfolio, presented a no-frills State Budget.
Last Friday’s budget had no populist schemes and was hailed by economists as a financially prudent budget. However, Palaniswami, who is keen on building a larger than life image as a leader on the lines of his mentor the late J Jayalalithaa, took to Rule 110 of the House to make a suo motu statement on the new dole.
The Rule prevents a debate by members of the House. He added that the amount required for the dole – which he justified as a financial assistance for poor people who were affected by Cyclone Gaja and drought – would be provisioned in the supplementary budget.
The new scheme was being rolled out just one month after the Government had in an unprecedented measure distributed Rs 1,000 cash to almost every ration card holders in the State as Pongal festival gift. The measure had cost nearly Rs 1,900 crore.