Setting another example of its alternative pro people policy look out and what can be done even with meagre resources, the Left Front
Government in Tripura became the first state in the country to introduce cash subsidy on mustard oil and pulses for all the families
of the state through public distribution system.
In a function at Rabindra Shatavarshiki Bhavan on 2nd December, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar formally launched the scheme. From now on for
purchasing every 2 kgs of pulses and a litre of mustard oil, every family having a ration card shall get a cash subsidy of rupees 35 per
month. This subsidy will be transferred to the bank account of the card holder.
Inaugurating the program, CM Manik Sarkar came down heavily on the Modi government for its inaction to check price rise. He said, from
the times of UPA II govt. we have been demanding that the govt. must take concrete steps to check price rise by universalising the PDS and
supplying 14-15 items of everyday need through ration shops at a fixed price. But they turned a deaf ear. The present Prime Minister had
prior to the elections stormed the country during his election campaign and promised to take steps to reduce the problems of the
common masses. But in the last 6 months what is being witnessed is further increase of burden on the people. If it wanted it could have
decided to supply essential commodities and medicines at a subsidised price through PDS, which could have benefitted the masses.
He said the centre has decontrolled the prices of petrol and diesel which will result in further increase in the prices of essential
commodities. We had to increase the tariff of power since the centre hiked the price of natural gas. To keep the power prices under control
for common people, we have decided to give a subsidy of 45-48 crores to the state electricity corporation. Manik Sarkar said, it would have
cost the centre hardly 2.5 lakh crores to supply essential commodities like rice, pulses, oil, salt, sugar, soaps, pen, candles, matchboxes,
notebooks through PDS. But instead of taking these steps they went on to give tax relief of the tune of rupees 5 lakh crores to the
corporates. They have run their election campaign on the money of the corporates and now after assuming power are looking after the welfare
of the rich. If Tripura can provide subsidy in few items despite its limited resources, what stops the centre from doing so, he asked.
Manik Sarkar said from the Vajpayee regime itself the forward trading of agri produces started, it was from that period that the ECA was
curbed. Neither UPA nor the NDA has ever taken any step for the benefit of the common people. On economic policies both are two sides
of the same coin. If we can arrange for resources the Left Front Government intends to provide subsidy on some more articles.
He lambasted the Modi government not implementing the food security act. He said that the act is flawed. It talks of giving 25 kgs of rice at 3 rupees
per kg, while we are already providing 35 kgs at 2 rupees per kg. The new act shall exclude 35-40% of the population from the ambit food
security. The new govt is imposing more and more conditions which indicate its intentions not to implement the act. It is necessary to
mount pressure on the centre through mass movements to change its policies and compel it to keep its promises, he underscored.
Minister for food and finance Bhanulal Saha said, till date 706338 families out of 962689 families having ration cards have applied for
this subsidy. The rest should apply soon to avail this opportunity. The scheme shall have an annual bearing of rupees 40.53 crores on the
government, he said. Mayor of Agartala Municipal corporation, Dr.Prafullajit Sinha, state chief secretary GK Rao too were present. The
Chief minister and the other guests handed over certificates of subsidy to some of the consumers on this occasion.