Amma brand of welfare schemes: Schemes win plaudits but drain coffers

With the Governor announcing that Amma brand of products and services will continue, Greater Chennai Corporation will have to reinvent itself to find the finances to manage the populist schemes.

A significant contributor to the building of Brand Amma, the Corporation may find its high debt burden to be a deterrent for expansion of the schemes. At present, the civic body takes care of the day-today operations and depends on the government for capital expenditure.

While work on some of the most populist schemes like Amma canteens have gained momentum after the AIADMK government led by Chief Minister Jayalalithaa returned to power for a second successive term, the expansion plans have hit a roadblock owing to fund crunch, say officials.

The Budget 2016-17 estimated that the Corporation would have to borrow loans to the tune of Rs. 1,400 crore for various development projects. Meanwhile, property tax rates remain unchanged and the estimated tax collection is about Rs.650 crore this year.

“The decision not to increase property tax rate is affecting the expansion of welfare schemes in the city,” said a senior official.

The latest in the line of populist schemes is the AMMAA markets in the city. “It is coming up in just one location. The original proposal was to cover 15 locations in the city,” the official points out.

Meanwhile, the proposal, a revised one, on Amma Theatres has been sent to the government. Work is expected to commence in a few locations in the city, officials say.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 3:44:50 AM |

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