Chief Minister O. Panneerselvam on Saturday shot off a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi opposing the Central government’s decision to scrap the subsidised kerosene supply through the Public Distribution System (PDS) and transfer the subsidy component by cash or other alternatives. He wanted Mr. Modi to advise the Union Finance Ministry to reconsider the move. The development comes on the eve of Chief Ministers’ conference on the restructuring of Planning Commission in New Delhi.
Alluding to a report by The Hindu in its Friday issue, Mr. Panneerselvam argued that in many parts of the State, especially rural areas, kerosene was mostly used as the main cooking fuel. He left for New Delhi in the day.
Chief Secretary K. Gnanadesikan and Principal Secretary (Planning and Development) S. Krishnan too left for New Delhi.
Mr. Pannerselvam on Saturday recalled that his predecessor Jayalalithaa, in a memorandum presented to Mr. Modi in June, raised both the issues of reduction in kerosene allotment and direct cash transfer in lieu of subsidy.
He said, “Tamil Nadu is strongly opposed to monetising and transferring in cash the subsidy element of Public Distribution System subsidies, including kerosene, where the critical concern is not the quantum of subsidy but the availability of commodities.”
He reiterated the State’s request for restoring the State’s monthly quota to 65,140 kilo litres from the present 29,056 kl in the interests of the poor and the middle class.
DMK president M. Karunanidhi urged the Centre to give up such a “reactionary” measure which, he said, would hit the poor.
On Friday, The Hindu published a report on the > Union government's plan on kerosene supply .