Now, AP to set up subsidised canteens

Now, AP to set up subsidised canteens

The Andhra Pradesh government has decided to start Anna (NTR) canteens across the state on the lines of the Amma Unavangam (canteen) in the neighbouring Tamil Nadu, where food is offered at low cost.

The government has appreciated the quality of the canteens and the public distribution system under the AIADMK regime. The recent state cabinet meeting has decided to set up a chain of canteens and appointed a committee under the civil supplies minister to study the feasibility and come up with details for implementation.

Following the decision, a high-powered committee under Civil Supplies Minister Paritala Sunitha visited Chennai last week. She also tasted the food at the Amma canteen near the Chennai central. 

Appreciating the quality of the food served for the kin and patients of the General Hospital, Sunitha paid a visit to the kitchen and the ration shop nearby that sells essential commodities at subsidised rates. The minister also visited another distribution centre at Alwarpet. The minister said she would submit a report about the implementation of the scheme to Chief Minister Nara Chandrababu Naidu.

The government, which is looking for a flagship programme like the Rs 2 rice scheme launched by party founder N T Rama Rao, is hoping to push for for Anna Canteens. In 1983, NTR came to power with the help of Rs 2 per kg rice scheme, which helped him to end decades of Congress monopoly in the state. 

However, during Chandrababu Naidu’s reign in 1995, the price per kg of rice was increased to Rs 3.50 per kg. The Congress government led by Y S Rajasekhar Reddy raised it further to Rs 5.25 in 2004. 

In 2008, YSR resorted to “rice politics” by re-launching the Rs 2 per kilo rice programme in Mahbubnagar. 

In 2013,then chief minister N Kirankumar Reddy launched the same scheme at Rs 1 per kg. The “Mana Biyyam” (our rice) scheme provided a maximum limit of 25kg each card holder per month. The scheme, which was launched only in five backward districts of the combined state, cost a whopping Rs 9,600 crore a year to the exchequer.

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