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Government offers free breast implants to poor women, says they have right to look beautiful

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Thousands of poor women in India’s Tamil Nadu state have been offered free cosmetic breast surgery, including implants, its health minister said Friday, because “poor people also have a right to look beautiful.”

The southern Indian state is known for its populist schemes, which have previously included free canteens and providing thousands of disadvantaged people with goats, laptops and bicycles, among other items.

It will now offer cosmetic breast surgery free of cost to all women — for aesthetic or medical reasons — with priority given to those from the poorest sections of society.

“If a poor woman desires to look beautiful, we will support her financially,” state health minister C. Vijayabaskar told AFP.

“Whether they require medical procedures or beauty treatment, it will be free.”

Tamil Nadu is ranked among the top states in India’s public healthcare system, compared with ailing government-run facilities in many other parts of the vast country.

But critics of the new scheme said the state government is wasting public money on cosmetic surgery instead of spending money on treating serious ailments.

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