According to sources tamilnadu government has set aside a whopping Rs 100 crore for Amma Unavagam, the subsidised canteens across the state, in its election year budget. tamilnadu Deputy Chief O Panneerselvam made the announcement in the state assembly on Friday. Meanwhile a pet project of late chief minister J jayalalithaa, the state-run budget canteens are expected to get a new lease of life with the introduction of corporate Social Responsibility contributions, beginning this year.
The deputy chief minister, presenting the budget for 2020-21 said "To ensure that this flagship programme reaches out to those who need it the most and is funded on a sustainable basis with a reduced financial burden on urban local bodies, the government has decided to form a not-for-profit Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to finance and manage the Amma Unavagam program". Previously Amma Unavagam was launched in 2013 as a social welfare scheme to provide inexpensive, cooked meals to labourers and students. Run by city corporations under the Municipal Administration Department, the scheme has largely enjoyed popularity among the people of the state.
Moreover with the introduction of the Special Purpose Vehicle, however, the government hopes to revive the canteens with corporate funding. At present, there are 407 Amma Unavagams in operation across the state with 200 canteens in chennai city alone. Perhaps the SPV will raise corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) contributions from companies and other donations, as per the budget. The government will continue to provide subsidised food grains, assured Panneerselvam. Moreover, the government will also provide grants to the SPV to cover the shortfall between the expenditure incurred and the revenue, contributions and donations received through CSR outreach.