Chennai: Giving effect to her major poll
promises within hours of assuming office, Tamil Nadu Chief
Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday ordered 20 kg of free rice to
ration card holders and 35 kg to BPL families and four gram of
gold for mangalsutra for girls getting married.
She also doubled the old age pension from Rs 500 to Rs
1,000, increased maternity leave for government staff to six
months from three months and financial assistance to fishermen
during fishing ban period from Rs 1,000 to Rs 2,000 as she
signed relevant files soon after being sworn in.
Jayalalithaa hiked marriage assistance for poor people from
Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000. The 20 kg free rice per month would be
available to families who had opted for rice cards.
In a war of freebies, both the AIADMK and the DMK had
announced a slew of populist measures in their manifestos
ranging from providing rice to mixers and mineral water and
In her first media interaction after taking over, she said
she would visit Delhi to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Asked whether she would meet Congress President Sonia
Gandhi, who had greeted her on her poll victory, Jayalalithaa
avoided a direct reply saying the "details of my visit will
be known to you soon."
Gandhi`s phone call to Jayalalithaa had led to speculations
about its significance but the Congress had maintained that it
was a courtesy call extended to all the leaders who emerged
victorious in the recent elections to five state assemblies.
Jayalalithaa said her priority was to restore law and
order and bring down prices of essential commodities.
Alleging "total collapse" of administrative machinery
during the five-year DMK rule, she said Tamil Nadu had now
been saved from an "autocratic rule".
"People need not have any apprehension about their safety
and security hereafter. I assure you all that my endeavours
will be to provide security to all," she said.