Rs 13 for two meals, Amma’s canteens in Tamil Nadu, but Rupani has stopped

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa’s heavily subsidised budget canteens have turned out to be a huge hit in Chennai. The Rupani government has stopped giving such food to a few thousand people in the labor market in Gujarat.

In one stroke, Amma Unavagam (Amma Eatery) has delivered twin benefits.

The breakfast menu of idli sambar at Rs 1 per idli, and a lunch menu consisting of sambar rice (price Rs 5) and curd rice at Rs 3, has made the state’s staple meals affordable for all.

And at the same time, the scheme has also successfully delivered maximum on the burp factor, months ahead of the next General Elections.

In a state which is usually viewed as a fountain-head of populist schemes, the latest scheme has won brownie points for making the rupee work more.

After all, if you have Rs 13 in your pocket, you can have two square meals a day.

Amma Eatery therefore makes a lot of economic sense for people across all sections of society, and some have even begun to dub it the ‘people’s canteen’ .

Edwin, who works as a security guard in a commercial complex on Anna Salai, has been a regular at the Amma Eatery near SIET College for over two weeks now.

The food offered at heavily subsidised prices – idli at Re 1 each, pongal for Rs 5, lemon and sambar rice for Rs 5, curd rice for Rs 3 and two chapatis with dhal for Rs 3 – is a boon for people from the marginalised sections of society. With a relatively well-maintained kitchen and a tidy little space with tables that are frequently cleaned, “all kinds of people” come in for their meals, Vasanthi says. Provisions are provided to the Amma Unavagams by the government.