After having doled out freebies like coats and cow in rural areas, the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) Government plans to distribute free poultry birds now. The Tamil Nadu Government wants to encourage people in the rural areas to rear poultry birds to meet the increasing need for its meat, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy said.
Tamil daily Dinamalar, quoting Palaniswamy, said 38,500 rural families would benefit from the scheme with each family being given 500 poultry birds. The state will spend Rs 25 crore on this programme.
Over Rs 72,000 crore is being spent in Tamil Nadu this financial year on various welfare schemes, including on freebies. The expenditure on welfare schemes is over 50 per cent of what the state earns on its own as revenue, including sale of liquor through government outlets. The AIADMK Government has been spending on the freebies despite mounting fiscal deficit, which has been estimated at Rs 17,491 crore this year.
On the other hand, South India is witnessing a double-digit growth in consumption of poultry meat annually with Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh being among the top poultry meat consuming states. According to the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO), poultry meat is one of the fastest growing segments of the agriculture sector in India. Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala account for 45 per cent of the country’s egg production.