Tamil Nadu has followed controversial social inclusion and welfare policies, partly aimed at electoral gains, such as free distribution of consumer durables. It has a near-universal coverage of the public distribution system (PDS), which not only provides highly subsidised food grains but is also used to distribute cash support and gift hampers during festivals. In 2011-12, PDS was used by 73 per cent of rural and 64 per cent of urban households. Tamil Nadu is one of the first states in India to provide nearly free basic food to urban poor, who are usually left behind in terms of welfare policies, and has one of the better-run public childcare facilities and healthcare system.

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