‘You give a poor man a fish and you feed him for a day. You teach him to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime’. Though this popular proverb holds true, this may not be applicable for someone who is in extreme hunger. Only if his/her stomach is somewhat filled, s/he can learn something new. So, feeding him/her first is important than teaching how to fish. This seems to be the idea behind Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami’s announcement of a ‘special financial assistance’ in the Assembly Monday, which would provide Rs 2,000 to 60 lakh families in the State who live below the poverty line.
Making an announcement, the Chief Minister said the money will be given on the grounds that poor people in several districts have been affected by Cyclone Gaja and drought-like situation following the failure of the monsoon. The measure would cost the State exchequer Rs 1,200 crore and the money would be allocated in the supplementary estimates for the year 2018-19. In all, 35 lakh BPL families in the rural areas and 25 lakh BPL families in urban areas will benefit from this assistance. According to Palaniswami, the financial assistance will be of great help, especially to agricultural workers, fishermen, workers in fire cracker units, handloom weavers, tree climbers and others.
As expected, the announcement has been welcomed by various quarters and one among the early birds was Pattali Makkal Katchi founder S Ramadoss. “This is a timely help extended to poor people affected by Cyclone Gaja and drought. This should be made into a permanent monthly assistance for poor workers,” he said. Only recently, the government gave Rs 1,000 each to all ration card-holders in view of Pongal festival. These types of assistance are needed for people of a State suffering from one too many issues. This is not yet another freebie, but an attempt to strike a fine balance between the rich and poor.