Jayalalithaa launches free Dhoti – Saree scheme for Pongal festival (Tamil Nadu)
Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu Smt. J Jayalalithaa has launched a special scheme called Dhoti – Saree scheme for the Pongal festival in the state in the upcoming New Year. According to sources, the Tamil Nadu Govt. has planned to spend about Rs. 486 crore for this project, which will distribute dhotis and sarees to the poor masses through mass distribution programs. This distribution will be done at the start of Pongal festival next year and Chief Minister herself will flag off the distribution ceremony. While making this announcement she gave clothes to five poor families itself.
Pongal is the major festival celebrated in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is being celebrated every year on the 3rd week of January. It is a four day festival, which starts from the last day of Maargazhi month in Tamil Calendar and continues up to the third day of Thai month. It is also called the Harvest Festival, which is also celebrated as Makar Sankranti in all over India and Bihu in Assam. The four days of Pongal are – Margali Kolam, Thai Pongal, Maatu Pongal and Kaanum Pongal. Pongal is the festival to celebrate the freshly harvested crops by the farmers and offer prayers for good harvest every year. Bhogi is the day before Pongal which is the day when people discard old belongings, clean their homes and get new decorations for the festival. The poor sections are also given alms and distributions on this very day.
The Tamil Nadu govt. has also planned to give free dhotis for men and sarees for women, those who belong to the poor and backward sections of the society. According to the Ministry sources, near about 1.68 crore dhotis and about 1.67 sarees will be distributed during the Pongal festival throughout the entire state. A total of 486 crore INR has been sanctioned by the Tamil Nadu Govt. for this mass distribution. This is a welcome and noble step the Jayalalithaa Govt. to give a helping hand to the poor and bring smile to their faces during the festival of Pongal.
This similar scheme was first started by M G Ramachandran who was the founder of AIADMK during his ministry in 1983. This scheme has been regulated under the Ministry of Handlooms and Textiles, Tamil Nadu. According to the Textile Ministry sources, this scheme will not only be beneficial for the poor and backward masses, but also it will strengthen the handloom sector of the state. In Tamil Nadu, a large portion of the rural population depends on weaving. It is the second largest occupation in Tamil Nadu after agriculture. So this scheme will also help the weavers of the state with high employment opportunities and financial stability. The sarees and dhotis will be all hand woven by the weavers of Tamil Nadu. The small micro units and factories which depend on weaving will also be benefitted. Govt. has also launched a website for this scheme: http://www.pongalsareedhoti.tn.gov.in.