Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday launched ‘Indira Canteen’- a flagship programme of Karnataka government which will provide food at subsidised rates. Indira canteens will serve lunch and dinner for Rs 10 and breakfast for Rs 5.
The Siddaramaiah government had announced setting up of the Indira canteens in the state budget for 2017-2018 apparently taking an idea from the ‘Amma canteens’ in Tamil Nadu which was introduced by then Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa.
Congratulating Karnataka government for this initiative, Rahul tweeted: “Indira Canteen is another step towards the “Food for All” commitment of the Congress. I congratulate the Karnataka Govt for this initiative.” He also said that it is designed to make sure that not a single person in Bengaluru goes hungry. Leaders including Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Congress General Secretary in-charge of the state K C Venugopal, the party’s state unit chief G Parameshwara and Bengaluru in-charge Minister K J George were present at the event.
However, in a slip of tongue, Rahul called the ‘Indira Canteen’ as the ‘Amma Canteen’.
How is Indira canteen different from Jayalalithaa’s Amma Canteen
In 2013, J Jayalalithaa had announced the setting up of a chain of highly-subsidised restaurants across Tamil Nadu named- ‘Amma’Canteen’ aimed at aiding economically disadvantaged sections of society. The canteen is popular for low-cost eateries and serves “Pongal” and sambar for Rs 5, idlis for Re 1. For lunch it serves lemon rice or curry leaf rice for Rs 5.” The canteen also provides chappatis, curd rice and side dish for Rs 3, sambar rice for Rs 5.
‘Amma Canteen’ went on to acquire immense popularity not just in Tamil nadu, but all across the country as an ideal example of welfare schemes.
After its success, Jayalalithaa also launched schemes like subsidised salt, mineral water and cement, all under the brand name Amma.
The Indira canteens will serve breakfast for Rs 5 and lunch and dinner for Rs 10. Initially, 101 canteens will be opened. More will be opened in 97 wards from October 2 to mark Mahatma Gandhi’s 150th birthday. An amount of Rs 100 crore was provided in the budget to set up these canteens in at least 198 wards of Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike. Rahul Gandhi said that the canteen is targeted at the working class like construction workers and auto rickshaw drivers. He also said that the intention behind this initiative was that the quality of food and cleanliness should be same as in the most expensive restaurants in Bengaluru.
A total of 27 kitchens will be set up across the city to cater to these canteens, of which 14 are ready and six are currently in working condition. According to officials, the canteens as of now will serve 500 plates of food, keeping in mind the budgetary allocation, and this is likely to be increased in the future.
Initially referred to as ‘Namma Canteen’, the name was later changed to ‘Indira Canteen’ as Congress legislators sought to give a political touch to the populist announcement ahead of the Assembly polls early next year by naming it after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.