The Saga of Amma Canteens: Challenges and Prospects for the Greater Chennai Corporation

Since their inception in 2013, Amma Canteens, affectionately known as Amma Unavagams, have been a cornerstone of affordable dining for the residents of Chennai. However, as the years have passed, the Greater Chennai Corporation (GCC) finds itself grappling with financial losses stemming from this flagship program of the AIADMK government.

Initially boasting 407 outlets across the city, the number of Amma Canteens has dwindled to 399 over the course of a decade. Despite their popularity among the masses, the canteens continue to operate at a tariff largely unchanged since their establishment, with most items priced at ₹5, except for idly at ₹1 and curd rice at ₹3.

The GCC’s budget estimates reveal a significant expenditure incurred in maintaining the canteens, with payments to casual staff constituting a substantial portion of the expenses. For the fiscal year 2024-25, the civic body anticipates an expenditure of ₹41.7 crore in this regard.

Mayor R. Priya’s directive during the January 31 Council meeting underscores the need for stricter enforcement of rules within the canteens to streamline operations and curb any malpractices that may contribute to financial strain.

Despite the sizable expenditure, the income generated from Amma Canteens falls short of expectations, with the estimated revenue for the current fiscal year standing at ₹15.35 crore. This disparity between projected and actual income has been a recurring challenge for the GCC, casting a shadow over the sustainability of the program in its current form.

To address these concerns and chart a sustainable path forward, the GCC must explore avenues to optimize operational efficiency and revenue generation within the Amma Canteens. This may involve reassessing pricing strategies, enhancing menu offerings, and implementing stringent measures to minimize wastage and ensure cost-effectiveness.

Moreover, leveraging technology and data analytics can empower the GCC to make informed decisions regarding resource allocation and performance monitoring across the canteen network. By embracing innovation and adopting best practices in food service management, the GCC can mitigate losses and enhance the overall viability of the Amma Canteens.

As Chennai continues to evolve as a vibrant metropolis, the resilience and adaptability of initiatives like Amma Canteens remain integral to fostering inclusive growth and catering to the diverse needs of its populace. With concerted efforts and strategic interventions, the GCC can navigate the challenges ahead and reaffirm the legacy of affordable dining that Amma Canteens represent in the fabric of the city’s culinary landscape.


my circle story

MY CIRCLE STORY - stories from every corner

Weave Your World with Threads of Fashion, Business Brilliance, News Narratives, Storybook Moments, and Healthful Chapters.

Edit Template


Scroll to Top