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Voted in power DMK to provide Health Insurance for rural poor

By Staff
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Chennai, May 4 (UNI) DMK President M Karunanidhi today said the party, if voted to power, would consider implementing a ''Health Insurance Scheme'' for the rural poor.

Speaking exclusively to UNI, the leader of six-party Democratic Progressive Alliance (DPA) said ''suggestion to implement the scheme was welcome''.

Answering a question as to why the party could not come up with a better scheme like health insurance to the rural poor, instead of providing them colour television, Mr Karunanidhi disagreed with the suggestion that the distribution of free colour television to the poor would not be beneficial.

''There could be public televisions in rural areas, but only if people had their own sets, they could watch them with a right,'' he argued.

He said ''quality rice at Rs two per kg would be distributed to all card holders presently drawing rice from the Public Distribution System (PDS)'' if DMK was voted to power.

He added to hold a detailed discussion with the Centre on the need to reduce the Centre's issue price of rice to tide over the subsidy crisis by the state government.

Mr Karunanidhi sounded optimistic when asked for how many years, the DMK, after coming to power, would be able to distribute rice at the rate of Rs two per kg, especially when Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram cut the food subsidy to the tune of Rs 2000 crore in the General budget for the year 2006-07.

Mr Karunanidhi replied in the affirmative when asked whether the DMK, if it came to power, would prevail upon the Centre to reduce the price of rice supplied to the state governments from the central pool to tide over its subsidy crisis.

''As rice tops the list of essential commodities, the Centre and state governments will discuss the issue elaborately and arrive at a good decision,'' he said.

Asked whether the cheap rice would be distributed to all card holders in the absence of an enumeration with regard to people living below and above poverty line, Mr Karunanidhi said ''the rice would be distributed to all and they would not be differentiated on the lines of poverty''.

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