Chennai: The Tamil Nadu government will give a cash gift of Rs1,000 (Dh52) and a gift hamper to all ration card holders in the state to celebrate the Pongal festival, said Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit on Wednesday.

The state government will also restructure its transport corporations with the help of German agency KfW and has formulated a housing project for slum dwellers, said the governor.

The government will release an industrial policy on aerospace and defence shortly to promote an indigenous component in the two sectors, he said.

“I am happy to announce that this government will give a cash support of Rs1,000 per family for the celebration of Pongal festival which will be applicable for the entire state, except Thiruvarur district where the Model Code of Conduct is in force following by-election to the Thiruvarur assembly constituency,” he said during his customary address in the state assembly.

He said Pongal gift hampers containing raw rice, sugar, raisins, cashew nuts, cardamom and sugarcane would be given to all card holders in an effort to mitigate the impact of Gaja cyclone in Cauvery delta and the widespread drought in northern districts.

Purohit said the state government is embarking on a comprehensive restructuring programme for the transport corporations with the support of the German bilateral financing agency, KfW.

“This would involve replacing the aging fleet with fuel-efficient BS-VI buses and procurement of environment-friendly electric buses in metro cities such as Chennai, Coimbatore and Madurai,” Purohit added.

According to him, the state government has formulated a comprehensive housing project called ‘Tamil Nadu Housing and Habitat Development Project’ to transform slums in Chennai, Thiruvallur and Kancheepuram districts with World Bank assistance.

“A similar project for areas other than Chennai Metropolitan Area has been proposed to the Asian Development Bank for assistance. The common building rules will also be notified shortly to enhance the ease of doing business in the housing sector,” Purohit said.

He said the Japan International Cooperation Agency has approved the funding for expanding the Chennai Metro Rail project to the tune of Rs201.96 billion (Dh10.6 billion) for priority stretches totalling 52km from Madhavaram to Sholinganallur and Madhavaram to Chennai Mofussil Bus Terminus (CMBT).

He said the loan agreement for the first tranche of approximately Rs47.7 billion was signed on December 21, 2018, and work will commence shortly.

According to him, the government will soon launch a scheme to extend financial support to NGOs for opening schools in interior tribal areas, catering substantially to tribal students as the literacy among tribals is significantly lower than the state average.

The state being a major automobile hub, thrust will be given for the promotion of new-generation electric vehicles with appropriate incentives, Purohit said.

According to him, the establishment of industrial hubs for defence products in Chennai-Vellore-Salem-Hosur-Coimbatore-Trichy corridor will definitely improve the prospects of Tamil Nadu as a major defence manufacturing hub.

“Further, implementation of Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana (UDAY) and the 7th Pay Commission recommendations have also widened the revenue deficit. “The delay in the release of Integrated Goods and Services Tax (IGST) and Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation, due to the state, has also accentuated this problem,” Purohit said.

Meanwhile the DMK and Congress walked out of the House at the start of Purohit’s speech.