Rs. 4,000 to be paid during period of reduced catch

Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Tuesday unveiled a slew of welfare measures for fisherfolk at a cost of Rs.113.42 crore.

The first scheme, part of fulfilling an assurance given by the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam in the run-up to the Assembly elections, is meant for about 1.7 lakh families of fishermen.

Relief of Rs.4,000 would be paid to each family during the period of reduced fish catch. For those in the coastal belt of Tiruvallur to Ramanathapuram, the amount would be paid during October-December; for Kanyakumari fishermen, it would be in January-March and for those in Tirunelveli and Tuticorin, the assistance would be given in April-June.

This would cost the exchequer Rs.70 crore annually, the Chief Minister stated in a release.

In the case of the national savings-cum-relief scheme for marine fishermen in 13 coastal districts, each fisherman would be paid Rs.1,800 during the lean three months, including the beneficiary's contribution of Rs.600. The remaining Rs.1,200 would be equally shared by Central and State governments. Nearly two lakh fisherfolk would benefit and the additional annual expenditure for the government would be Rs.24 crore. Pointing out that the State savings-cum-relief scheme for women fisherfolk would continue, the Chief Minister said each that beneficiary would get Rs.1,800 during the lean months. The amount includes Rs.1,200 from the State government and Rs.600 from the beneficiary.

The scheme, covering about 1.62 lakh persons, would entail expenditure of Rs.19.42 crore during the current year. Ms. Jayalalithaa recalled that her government had fulfilled another electoral promise to hike financial assistance from Rs.1,000 to Rs. 2,000 during the 45-day- ban on fishing.