After Karnataka, it is Haryana which is now looking to replicate the Amma canteen model which has seen much success in Tamil Nadu. A team of officials from Haryana, led by state’s Minister for Labour and Employment Nayab Singh Saini, visited the canteens in Chennai to study their working, reports The New Indian Express.
Haryana is looking to implement the canteen model as well as the drinking water scheme, that the late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa introduced. Amma canteens, which were founded in 2013, aim at providing nutritious and quality food to the economically weaker sections of society at subsidised rates.
“We have studied how these canteens are providing quality food at affordable cost for the poor and we are planning to replicate this after studying more the modalities and infrastructure,” The New Indian Express quotes Nayab Singh Saini as saying.
The delegation also studied the Amma drinking water projects operational in various parts of the city. The project, which was launched in 2015, aims to offer 20 litres of treated water, free of cost to every family belonging to economically weaker sections.
This visit from Haryana officials, comes just days after the Karanataka Government in its budget, allocated Rs.100 crore for ‘Namma Canteen’, along the lines of ‘Amma canteens’. The canteens when launched, will be serving breakfast for Rs.5 and lunch and dinner for Rs.10 in 192 wards of Bengaluru.
In July 2016, it was announced that Amma canteens had impressed Chinese officials enough to want them to replicate it in Chogqing city in China, which is the sister-city of Chennai, according to an agreement signed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2015.
Hundreds turn up for coffee with MLAs in Chennai, but no legislators in sight
“The common citizen has started to leave fear behind to ask questions.”
The tent was erected, the stage set, the chairs labelled and the coffee ready, for a one of its kind ‘Coffee with MLAs’ programme in Valluvar Kottam in Chennai on Sunday morning.
At close to 9am, organisers, student volunteers, resident associations and civilians began gathering at the venue. All arrangements were in place for residents to ask their elected representatives questions, except the 122 MLAs themselves, who failed to turn up.
The event on Sunday morning was organised by Arappor Iyakkam, an anti-corruption group, with the help of students from across the city. The group had sent out invitations to the 122 MLAs who were lodged in resorts in Koovathur while the Sasikala vs OPS battle was raging.
The invites were sent 10 days ago, and in addition to this, Organiser’s say, they sent the MLAs text messages as reminders for the event on Saturday. However, the lack of MLAs did little to hamper the event in any manner.
“What happened in Apollo and Koovathur? We want people’s rule, not mafia rule,” a man on the stage roared as I entered the venue.
One of the first speakers was Carnatic vocalist TM Krishna, who also sang the ‘Pormabaku’ song.
“This is the first time that civilians have gathered without fear in an area to question their MLAs. We will murder the concept of a democracy if we don’t ask our elected representatives questions everyday,” he said.
“When an election is nearing, we need to analyse a candidate’s records to see if they are worth our vote. These MLAs are not bigger than the people. They are able to get away with corruption because we think politics is dirty and keep away from it. If we make politics a part of our daily lives and became aware, they wouldn’t dare to try and cheat us,” he added.
An all women’s play which was performed next cleverly changed the lyrics of ‘paatu padava paatu kekeva’ (Shall I sing a song, shall I listen to a song?) to questions for MLAs.
Shanthi Krishnan (62) from Besant Nagar had come to attend the event with a group of 60 women, of which 20 were part of the skit.
“We are part of the Voice of the People group and our skit is on how these politicians canvas for votes. We are tired of the political options that we currently have. Even the MLAs know we no longer trust them and the Government’s popularity is at an all time low. That is why they didn’t have the guts to come here,” she said.
However, what got the audience most excited was perhaps when the organisers called a few MLAs and put them on loudspeaker.
Tamil Nadu Finance Minister D Jayakumar’s line was busy, whereas Labour Minister Nilofer Kafeel’s call went unanswered.
Municipal Administration and Rural Development Minister SP Velumani’s calls were answered by his PA.
According to the volunteers, around 1,000 people had gathered at the venue, and as the Minister’s assistant stumbled for an answer, the crowd cheered and hooted.
“When we called MLAs to invite them for this event, several of them didn’t pick up. Of the few who did, MLA Benjamin actually abused us and asked if we are Pakistanis. The reason they didn’t come here today is because they are scared. They are being made accountable for their actions and they don’t know how to answer the people,” said Jayaram, one of the organizers.
“The common citizen has started to leave fear behind to ask questions,” he added.
Jayaram also accused Deputy General Secretary of the AIADMK and Sasikala’s nephew TTV Dhinakaran, who is contesting from RK Nagar, of being “part of mafia”.
“He is a corrupt man and has black money stashed in different countries, all of it routed through shell companies. They have muzzled IAS and IPS officers. Is this the kind of person we must vote for?” he asked.
In the audience were also those who had come to the event to speak of their experiences with politicians. 67-year-old Vijayalakshmi claimed that her land had been illegally seized by Sasikala.
“We bought the land in 1980 in OMR and had fenced it. But between 1997 and 2003, the AIADMK fabricated false documents and took away our land. We went to court, but they destroyed all the proof that was registered with the government. We had no power against them. Now to think that Dinakaran will be standing in RK Nagar is frightening. What will happen to Tamil Nadu?” she asked.
At the end, as a symbolic gesture, “No Confidence motion” slips were passed around and people had to select Yes/No and deposit it in a box.
“Once we have collected the slips, we will be sending them to the President,” Jayaram said.
Rural Schemes that were Started and running successfully in Tamil Nadu by the Late Chief Minister J Jayalalitha.
Amma Mobile Phone Scheme: Under this Amma Mobile Phone scheme free mobile phones were given to about 20,000 Self Help Groups and trainers mostly women with special Tamil software to help them supervise the SHG workers and this leads and provides some information about the Phones to the Women’s in the Governance.
Amma Service Centre: The Local Bodies of Amma Service Center will issue all the Certificates including the Birth/Death Certificates on every Wednesday would issue birth and death certificates, trade licenses, ration cards, drinking water and sewage connections, permission for building etc all these problems were solved on every Wednesday on the Amma Service Center in all over Tamil Nadu.
Special Amma Camps: Amma camps were opened up in the rural areas where government officials visit villages and solve their Health Problems of the public at their doorstep. The dates were announced in advance through public broadcast systems around Tamil Nadu.
Amma Cement: Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation through retail outlet would sell Amma Cement for as little as Rs. 190 a bag of 50 kg. Under this scheme those eligible will be able to get a maximum of Rs 750 a bags for new house constructions and 100 bags for renovations of Houses for Poor People in Tamil Nadu. Over one-lakh bags of ‘Amma Cement’ weighing about 5,000 metric tones was sold across the state in just 15 days of the launch of the scheme.
Farm fresh vegetable shops: Subsidized farm fresh vegetable shops have been opened for the common man who suffers from frequent price increases of vegetables. The cooperative fair price vegetable shops sell farm-fresh vegetables in cities at low costs.
Free Mixie, Grinder & Fan: As an election promises, the AIADMK government distributed mixie, grinder & fan free of cost to the poor. It also opened exclusive centers for repair and maintenance of these electric items.
Amma Theatre scheme: Under this scheme U-certified Tamil films will be screened in corporation-run theatres for as low as Rs. 10 per ticket.
Chennai Centric Schemes
Chennai Small Bus scheme: Small bus schemes help commuters to travel to nearby railway stations and bus stations without depending on Auto rickshaws and call taxis. It covers areas where MTC buses do not operate.
Amma Water: Bottled mineral water with the brand name Amma Mineral Water is sold at about INR 10 a litre. Under the scheme around 200 water kiosks are functioning in Chennai city alone, which would supply potable water through vending machines. Here up to 20 litres of drinking water per family per is supplied.
Fish Stall in Chennai: The Tamil Nadu Fish Development Council launched Amma Fish stalls in many key locations in Chennai where Fish is sold at a subsidized rate.
Internet for Every Household scheme: The government’s broadband internet scheme was offered to every household at affordable cost through the state-owned Arasu Cable TV Corporation Limited.
People’s Security Scheme
Amma Call Centre: Amma call center is people’s security scheme. It is actually a public grievance cell with toll-free number 1100. Grievance can be registered here and the details given by the callers will be sent to officials concerned and the caller would be informed about the officer, handling the complaint and further the action taken on it.
Amma micro loans scheme: This scheme was launched to provide micro loans for small traders who can avail loan upto Rs.5, 000 from banks and the government will pay the interest. They can repay it as little as Rs. 200 a week. Those who pay on time are eligible for higher loans upto Rs. 25,000.
Amma Seeds: Under this scheme certified, high-quality Amma seeds are made available for free to the farmers across the state. The Tamil Nadu State Seeds Development Agency that implements the scheme also provides subsidized kits for the urban folks to cultivate vegetable farming in smaller land and roof-tops.
Food Security Scheme
Amma Canteens are a chain of highly subsidized government run canteens that allow the common man to procure quality food at very cheap prices (Rs 13 for two meals). This was the most popular food security scheme for the poor. Amma canteens are maintained by women Self Help Groups (SHG).
Free 20 Kg rice scheme: In order to provide food security of the poor Amma has made 20 kg of rice to be distributed free to them via the ration stores.
Amma salt: Amma salt comes in three variations — Double Fortified Salt, Refined Free Flow iodized Salt and Low Sodium Salt and are distributed through government-run PDS outlets.
Monthly Pension for Transgender: Transgender who live in abject poverty and primarily survive on begging has been given monthly pension to make easy their life.
New Born Scheme for the children care and woman :-
The Cradle baby scheme: This scheme was launched during 1991-96, to check female feticide and gender-based abortions rampant in certain districts. It allowed mothers to anonymously hand over their new-born children to the government, which would take care of them or give them for adoptions.
Amma baby care kits: Every mother who gave birth to her child at a government hospital gets 16 types of baby-products worth Rs. 1000 for free. The kit comes as a carry bag and contains a baby towel, dress, bed, mosquito net, napkin, baby oil, baby soap, bath soap, soap box, liquid sanitizer, nail cutter, rattle, doll, and ‘Sowbhaghya Legiyam’ (a medicinal preparation to improve mother’s health).
Health Care Schemes Started by the Tamil Government :-
Amma Master Health Check-up: The is a set of three health checkup schemes i) Amma Master Health Check- up, ii) Amma Special Master Health Check-up Scheme for Women and ii) Amma Arokia Thittam – for those who cannot afford regular health screening tests. The cost of the check-up is one-fifth of what private screening centers offer.
Amma Pharmacies: The AIADMK government rolled out over a hundred pharmacies in Chennai and other districts where medicines are sold at a discount of about 15 percent over market price. The pharmacies are open all through the week from 7 am to 11 pm.
Amma Medi-claim: This is a comprehensive health insurance scheme is popularly known as Amma medi-claim, under which the sum assured for each family is Rs.1 lakh per annum for a total period of four years. The cost of tests required for treatment would also be part of the insurance cover.
‘Amma Marriage Halls‘: Under this scheme “Amma Marriage Halls” are built at 11 locations in the state.
‘Gold for marriage’ scheme: The scheme gives four grams of gold and cash upto Rs.50, 000 to economically-backward women who have completed their degree or diploma.
Schemes for Students who are below poverty line :-
Distribution of Free Text Books: All students of Standards I to XII studying in Government schools are being supplied with text books, free of cost by the Government.
Distribution of free Bicycles: Every year, free Bicycles are distributed to class XI students studying in Government Schools.
Free Uniforms: Free uniforms are being given to students of I to VIII who are enrolled in the noon meal scheme.
Free Bus Pass scheme: Free Bus passes in the shape of smart cards is issued to all school and college students traveling in Government buses.
Cash Prize for Top Rankers: As per this scheme, the first three top rankers in the Higher Secondary Examination with Tamil medium are awarded cash prizes Rs 50, 000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000. Similarly, the first three top rankers in the X Board Examination with Tamil medium were also awarded cash prize of 25,000, 20, 000 and 15,000. Moreover, subject wise top rankers (first rankers) at the state level in both the X Board Examination and the XII Board Examination are given cash awards
Free Laptops for Students: Under the scheme for higher-secondary and college students studying in government and aided institutions are given free laptops. Free laptops are given to students who have acquired a certain percentage in school and college examinations. The laptop distribution scheme was planned with the motive of encouraging digital education among students from a very early stage.
Girls’ Incentive Scheme: To prevent dropouts of SC/ST girl students, the IX Standard unmarried SC/ST girls of age, less than 16 years are provided with a fixed deposit certificate for Rs.3000/-
Financial Assistance for Students lacking Parental Support: This scheme is meant for the students whose bread winning parent (father or mother) dies in an accident or is rendered permanently incapacitated will get Rs.50, 000. The amount will be deposited in the name of the student in Tamil Nadu Power Finance Corporation and the interest amount will be spent on the educational needs of the child.