The Tamil Nadu government today announced the closure of 500 more state-run retail liquor outlets, taking the total number of such shops shut since last year to 1,000. 


This was among the first set of orders signed by Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami, who formally assumed office today, two days after he won a vote of confidence with a 121-11 margin in the Assembly.


The announcement was to honour former chief minister J Jayalalithaa's promise to bring in prohibition in a phased manner in Tamil Nadu, Palaniswami told a press meet here. 


He recalled late AIADMK supremo's announcement in May 2016, closing down the first batch of 500 Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) shops, operated by state-owned TASMAC. 


Amidst various political parties batting for prohibition in the run-up to the May 2016 state Assembly polls, Jayalalithaa had, in the AIADMK manifesto, promised to implement it in a phased manner if voted to power again. 


Liquor sale is under government control in Tamil Nadu and a major revenue grosser for the state's coffers, bringing in an annual revenue of around Rs 26,000 crore from the 6,300-odd TASMAC retail outlets. 


Palaniswami, flanked by some of his cabinet colleagues, said he signed files for the implementation of five schemes. 


The other schemes pertained to hiking of financial assistance under a maternity scheme from Rs 16,000 to Rs 18,000, providing a 50-per cent subsidy to women beneficiaries to buy two-wheelers, free housing for fishermen and increasing the dole for the unemployed youth, he said. 


The chief minister ordered raising of monthly assistance to unemployed youth from Rs 150 to Rs 300 (Class 10 completed), from Rs 200 to Rs 400 (Class 12) and from Rs 300 to Rs 600 (graduates). 


The two-wheeler scheme will be implemented with an annual allocation of Rs 200 crore, while Rs 85 crore has been allotted for the housing scheme, the chief minister said, adding that all the schemes were in tune with the promises made by Jayalalithaa in the AIADMK poll manifesto. 


"With the blessings of honourable Amma (Jayalalithaa) and respected Chinnamma (VK Sasikala), I signed the files," Palaniswami, a Sasikala loyalist, said. 


He was elevated to the top post after AIADMK general secretary Sasikala, the earlier claimant to the chief minister's office, was convicted and sent to prison by the Supreme Court in a disproportionate assets case. 


On the drinking water shortage in the state following a drought situation, Palaniswami recalled his earlier statement that the scenario was unseen in about 140 years and said his government was committed to addressing it. 


"The government will ensure all steps for an unhindered supply of water in urban and rural areas," he added. 


Earlier, Chief Secretary Girija Vaidyanathan, Principal Home Secretary Apurva Verma, DGP TK Rajendiran and Chennai Police Commissioner S George met the chief minister.