A separate committee under a retired judge would be constituted to look into regional quotas for medical education for the forthcoming academic year. The government would ensure the educational aspirations of students from Karaikal, Mahe and Yanam were not jeopardised in the absence of regional quotas in private medical colleges, said Chief Minister V.Vaithilingam here on the judicial ruling on the issue and the government's response to it.

The Chief Minister launched the distribution of white rice under PDS on Tuesday.

In a first-of-its kind initiative within the ambit of Public Distribution System, the Puducherry government has launched single-boiled rice distribution in place of double-boiled rice currently under distribution. With this, Puducherry has become the first region in the country to distribute white rice for its family-card holders.

The incurred expenditure by way of subsidy would be Rs.18 per kg, with a ratio of 10:8 incurred by the Central and the State governments respectively. For the government, this envisages a monthly expenditure of Rs.380 towards a family.

Mr.Vaithilingam, pointed out to the arduous processes involved to have the proposal for white rice cleared – both in terms of nutritional research and logistics of adequacy of stock for distribution.

“The proposal was under consideration for almost a year, when we took it to the Centre along with the samples of red rice and white rice,” The Food Corporation of India (FCI) was initially skeptical on grounds of nutrition as it was believed that red rice was better in terms of nutritional-value.

According to the Chief Minister, the supply of white rice would trigger ancillary advantages for Puducherry in terms of additional labour in rice mills and better price for farmers. Earlier rice under fair price distribution was procured from Punjab, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Chattisgarh.

The FCI would procure white rice from the rice mills of Puducherry on certification that the rice had been procured from the farmers at the minimum support price announced by the Centre.

White rice distribution through PDS would cater to over 1.43 lakh red card holders, 1.7 lakh yellow card holders and the majority in BPL category. This entails 6,000 tonnes of paddy or 4,000 tonnes of rice per month, the Chief Minister said.

Leader of Opposition A.M.H.Nazeem sought an increase in the distribution level to 35 kg per family from the current 25 kgs for red card holders, and an additional 5 kg of rice to the current 5 kg under distribution for yellow cards.

Mr.Nazeem, also called upon the Chief Minister to ameliorate the uncertainty of students on the issue of regional quotas in private medical colleges.

M. Kandasamy, Minister for Welfare and Cooperation, announced that Rs.40 crore has been allotted by the Chief Minister for distribution of free colour television sets on lines of the Tamil Nadu government. TV sets would be distributed to 12 lakh people before elections, the Minister stated.

Franklin Laltin Kuhma, Collector, V.M.C.Sivakumar, P.R.Siva, A.Marimuthu were among those

Keywords: welfare schemes

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