Registered with the Registrar of Newspapers for India under R.N.I 53640/91

Vol. XXX No. 1, April16-30, 2020

Our Readers Write

Freebies for Covid

This refers to the decision of the Tamil Nadu government to provide cash incentive of Rs.1000 and free supply of rice, lentils, oil etc for the rice card holders and, sugar, lentils and oil at free of cost to the sugar cards to tide over the situation arising out of the lock down, following the Covid 19 outbreak.

Whilst on the above, it may be mentioned that in the month of November 2019, the state government announced that those with sugar only cards can opt for rice. It was stated that this announcement was made based on the long time request of sugar-card holders.

On this basis, many have opted for rice and this has led to a manifold increase in the number of rice card holders.

The ration cards were issued originally based on the income. There were cases then where many had given income much less than what they had really earned so that they remain at the low ebb and many others had indicated income so as to mainly avail of sugar. Based on these, card holders were bifurcated as rice and sugar.

The offer of freebies and cash incentives by the governments of the day from time to time to the so called rice card holders has led more people to opt for rice thereby throwing the real criteria to issue ration card to the winds. The government’s recent decision to open the floodgates of rice option to sugar-only card holders further fortifies the fact that classification ‘below poverty line’ which is the yardstick to determine one’s income-earning capacity and main criteria to avail of various government schemes, has lost its sanctity.

In the above background, except that one category of card holders draw more quantity of rice and the others avail of sugar, there is not much of difference between the rice/sugar card-holders.

It is in this context the demand to provide freebies to sugar-only card holders as well assumes importance.
The purpose of this note is not to highlight the rightful claim of sugar-card holders but to underline the facts of the matter.

V.S. Jayaraman
31 Motilal Street,
Chennai 600 017


  1. Vs narayanaswamy says:


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