Thiruvananthapuram: The Election Commission on Wednesday gave its nod for implementing the free rice supply scheme which the Kerala government had announced in its 2016-17 budget.
The news has come as a big relief to the ruling Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) ahead of May 16 Assembly Elections in Kerala.
Under this proposal, the government will distribute 25 kg of free rice to families that come under below poverty line and also Antoyodaya Anna Yojana families through ration shops.
Earlier, the EC had prevented the government from rolling out of the scheme from this month in the wake of the model code of conduct coming into force following announcement of the polls on March 4.
Clearing the decks for the scheme, the Commission, however, put a condition that no new persons should be added to the present list of beneficiaries, sources in the state Chief Electoral Officer's office said.
The EC had also said Ministers or MLAs should not take part in any ceremony for rice distribution, the sources said.
Upset by the EC's order restraining it from implementing the scheme, the state government had last month appealed to the EC to permit it to go ahead with it, saying the decision to supply free rice was taken prior to announcement of polls.
The government had also said it would explore legal options if the EC did not permit the scheme's implementation.
The commission's decision to lift the ban came on Wednesday, a few hours after the state Cabinet resolved to move the court if the clearance was not given.
(With PTI inputs)