As many as 70 new state-run pharmacies, that sell medicine on a discount of up to 20 per cent, were inaugurated virtually on Thursday by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin on Thursday.
Stalin unveiled the new medical stores from the Secretariat here, set up under the aegis of the Department of Cooperation, and these are located in 36 districts. Four shops were opened here, Ariyalur, Coimbatore, Cuddalore, Dharmapuri, Dindigul, Erode, Kanyakumari and Karur which were among the over 30 districts, where the pharmacies were unveiled through video-conferencing by the Chief Minister.
The cooperative movement, a socio-economic juggernaut, is playing a pivotal role in the growth of Tamil Nadu's rural economy, poverty eradication and improvement of social integration, an official release here said. By offering a discount of up to 20 per cent, the 303 government run medical stores are playing a 'social role' similar to ration shops in keeping the prices under control in the open market, the government said.
Pharmacies fall under the ambit of the Department of Cooperation, Food and Consumer Protection. Owing to competition, "private medical shops are selling drugs by slashing prices in areas where the cooperative pharmacies are functional." The state-run medical shops have amenities including air-conditioners and the infrastructure is on a par with private shops.
During the Demand for Grant to the department (2021-22), it was announced by the government that steps would be taken to increase the number of state-run pharmacies to 600 (at the rate of 60 shops a year) over a period of five years. As per the announcement, 70 new pharmacies were unveiled on Thursday taking up the total number of shops to 373. Krishnagiri, Madurai, Nagapattinam, Mayiladuthurai, Namakkal, the Nilgiris, Perambalur, Pudukottai, Ramanathapuram, Salem, Thanjavur are among the other districts where the new shops were opened.
In 2014, late Chief Minister and former AIADMK supremo, J Jayalalithaa had launched 'Amma' pharmacies, following the launch of welfare schemes prefixed by the word 'Amma' like the low-cost eatery chain, 'Amma' canteens.
Recently, former Chief Minister K Palaniswami had hit out at the DMK government for bid to 'scrap' welfare initiatives launched during the AIADMK regime like the Amma canteen, Amma Pharmacy and so on and had demanded continuation of such schemes.
-With PTI Inputs