Staff Reporter

Tiruvannamalai: Launching the Re.-1-a-kg-rice scheme here, Food Minister E.V. Velu refuted criticism that while rice cost Re.1 a kg, salt cost Rs. 7.

Mr. Velu said, “We are not going to eat several kg of salt. Subsidising rice will benefit families.”

In response to criticism that ration rice was poor in quality, he said, “We distribute 3 lakh tonnes of rice every month. If it is of inferior quality, will people buy them?”

Mr. Velu said the rice distributed through the Public Distribution System from Chennai to Kanniyakumari is of same quality.

Orders were issued to Collectors to ensure that new ration cards are distributed to all eligible applicants within 60 days from the date of application. This was possible owing to localised printing of cards at the district-level, he said.

If critics point out mistakes that take place in the PDS system, action would be taken, he said. According to a study on domestic expenses, 55 per cent of the earnings of an average household was being spent on food. The State government, through its slew of schemes, was helping people in all ways.

Mr. Velu handed over rice bags to beneficiaries.

Collector (incharge) G.Thamarai presided over the function.