CHENNAI: Two ministers in the state cabinet on Friday contributed to disturbing the sleep of Chief Minister M K Stalin after they publicly criticised the performance of the state cooperative ministry.
State finance minister Palanivel Thiaga Rajan set the tone for the confrontation after said that he was not satisfied with the performance of the state cooperatives department.
Speaking at an event organised in his native Madurai, Thiaga Rajan said that the state cooperative department might be doing well historically and ideologically. However, a lot needs to be done in the department in terms of information, efficiency and technological upgrade.
“End-to-end computerisation for the functioning of such societies (cooperative) is a difficult task. In terms of aggregate value, in gross, I am not satisfied as the finance minister. There are many chances of improving it, ” Thiaga Rajan added.
Pointing out that the spending of the state government has tripled since 2017-18, the finance minister said, “We are not getting the benefit of that (spending) for sure. In the days we announced palm oil and Tur Dal, the effective subsidy was between Rs 5 and 10, the price difference between the market and the PDS shop. Today, I think the difference in palm oil is Rs 105 and Toor dhall it is Rs 40. I made the point publicly and privately. I made the point that whenever the difference between the market price and the PDS price is 300 or 400%, you are creating incentives for malfeasance, smuggling and irregularities. You are creating. I suggested a reform of the same. You know about the reports of smuggling of PDS rice. It definitely needs fixing.”
Responding to his junior cabinet colleagues' volley, state cooperative minister I Periasamy said, “We are very determined in transparency. We welcome complaints. We initiate action wherever it happens. Ask him where and what fault has happened. Sakkarapani and I are only concerned about the satisfaction of the people. We only expect the satisfaction of seven crore people and our Chief minister. We will work for that. We do not have the need to satisfy anyone else.” The exchange between his cabinet colleagues has definitely caused an embarrassment for Stalin who appealed to his ministers only a few weeks ago that he was losing sleep over the careless public statements made by them.