Food Procurement and Distribution – PDS & NFSA, Shanta Kumar Committee, FCI restructuring, Buffer stock, etc.

AMMA Canteen and its success


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Amma Canteen

Mains level: Food subsidization and its impact

The Amma Canteen, a delivery system to provide urban food security in Tamil Nadu, has become an effective mechanism in reaching the needy during the lockdown.

AMMA Canteen

  • Amma Unavagam better known as Amma Canteen is a food subsidization programme run by the Government of Tamil Nadu.
  • Under the scheme, municipal corporations of the state-run canteens serving subsidised food at low prices.
  • The dishes are offered at low prices: ₹1 for an idli, ₹5 for a plate of sambar rice, ₹5 for a plate of “Karuvapellai Satham” (Curry leaves rice) and ₹3 for a plate of curd rice.

Feeding the stranded

  • Migrants usually benefit from this canteen scheme.  It is not uncommon to see policemen, municipal workers and people from the media having their breakfast in these canteens.
  • The system, in short, has ensured urban food security and is a boon to migrants during lockdown. There are, thus, unexpected but pleasant benefits from this scheme.

Reasons for success

  • It is a delivery system with minimum leakages and has reached to its target group very effectively compared to the PDS system.
  • People realized the benefits of the scheme in due course of time and thus it emerged popularly.

A lesson for all

  • Welfare schemes are started with the intention to provide benefits to vulnerable sections of society.
  • The success of any welfare scheme depends on the seriousness of the people at the helm of affairs, the efficiency of the scheme’s functionaries and the involvement of the people.
  • During the process of implementation, some deserving people get excluded from the scheme, while some of those who were undeserving manage to enjoy its benefits.
  • Welfare schemes deliver unexpected but pleasant benefits sometimes.

Way forward

  • For such a welfare scheme to be successful, it must be launched in letter and spirit.
  • The benefits of the schemes cannot be realized at pan India level in the absence of a good delivery system.
  • These states should explore the possibility of utilising available infrastructure in existing private canteens and hotels (closed during lockdown).
  • This measure would not only help migrant workers but also provide employment to workers who remained unemployed since the lockdown came into effect.

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