Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin announced a Pongal gift package of 20 items for the year 2022. Pongal will be celebrated in Tamil Nadu from January 14 to January 17, 2022. The gift package, which will consist of food items, will be distributed to the rice card holders and family card holders in Tamil Nadu as well as the Sri Lankan Tamil refugees living in the state.
According to the Government Order (GO) released on December 20, the 20 items on the list are rice, jaggery, cashew, alfalfa, grapes, cardamom, yellow dal, ghee, turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder, mustard, cumin, salt, pepper, tamarind, lentils, semolina, wheat, along with a yellow cloth bag or ‘Manja Pai’. The ‘Manja Pai’ had been introduced in order to reduce the use of plastic bags among consumers in the state. It was launched by the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) earlier in 2021 in the Koyambedu market.
The state government said that the 20 items will be distributed to 2,15,48,060 families at a cost of Rs 1,088 crore. It is also worth noting that whole cane will be provided with this package. The gift package will be given away from January 3 onwards. Further, Sri Lankan Tamils and Rice Card holders will get the 20 items as a package along with the sugarcane. The total amount spent on this scheme will be Rs 2.15 crore.
The ghee distributed to the family card holders will be procured by the government from cooperatives, according to reports. The pongal gift scheme was started by former Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami in the interest of the people as many of them lost their livelihood or saw a dip in their earnings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Under the scheme, rice card holders were provided financial assistance and ration kits as a Pongal gift.