The Tamil Nadu government has decided to continue with free saris and dhotis distribution scheme during the 2015 Pongal season. This scheme was started in 1982 by chief minister M G Ramachandran, after a failure of the north-east monsoon, to help the landless labourers. The scheme was upgraded in 2003 with the inclusion of polyster mix with cotton.
The Tamil Nadu government has allocated Rs 486.36 crore towards manufacture of 1.73 crore saris and 1.72 crore dhotis for free distribution. The saris will be of polycot variety. Based on the instructions of chief minister J Jayalalithaa, orders have been placed with weavers. A sum of Rs 240.55 crore will be given as advance to the weavers, according to an official release.
The state government has been distributing saris and dhotis to poor people during Pongal every year. Last year, the government distributed saris made of polycot (a mixture of polyester and cotton). This evoked good response and the government is extending the same this year too.
In 2014, the government had allocated Rs 486.36 crore toward manufacturing and a higher grade cotton was used for the manufacture of the dress material. Under this scheme, around 3.45 crore of population were distributed saris and dhotis and more than 11,000 handloom weavers and 54,000 powerloom weavers benefitted as they received the order for manufacturing saris and dhotis.
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