The Tamil Nadu government on Wednesday launched free dhoti, saree and bicycle scheme for students ahead of the Pongal festival that marks the beginning of Tamil calendar on January 15. CM O Panneerselvam handed over gift hampers to seven beneficiaries at a function on Wednesday.
A government release said that 1.62 lakh saris and 1.62 lakh dhotis would be distributed at an estimated cost of Rs 486 crore this year. Then CM and AIADMK founder M G Ramachandran had launched the scheme in 1983. More gifts like saris were added to the scheme during late chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s tenure.
The free bicycle scheme would be implemented in this academic year for around 2.7 lakh boys and 3.48 lakh girl students of Class II at government and government-aided schools. It would cost Rs 243.96 crore.