Karnataka cabinet gives in-principle approval to Congress’s five guarantee schemes | Azad Times

3 weeks ago 16
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Azad Times News Desk.

“I am confident that we can implement the guarantees without pushing the state into debt,” said CM Siddaramaiah, following his Cabinet’s first meeting after he was sworn in as Karnataka’s Chief Minister.

As promised, the new Congress government in Karnataka helmed by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has begun the process of implementing its five guarantees made during the party’s election campaign, with the cabinet giving its in-principle approval on Saturday, May 20. Soon after being sworn in at a massive gathering, Siddaramaiah, accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar and eight cabinet ministers, headed to a cabinet meeting. The five guarantees encompass a range of social welfare schemes including financial assistance to unemployed graduates and women heads of households.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Siddaramaiah said that they estimated that it would cost the government approximately Rs 50,000 crore to fulfil the five guarantees. He said, “I am confident that we can implement the guarantees without pushing the state into debt. We plan to cut down on wasteful expenditure and decrease the amount of loans. I don't think it is impossible for our government to raise the amount.” The schemes are expected to come into effect as early as next week, after the next cabinet meeting.

The five guarantees include the Gruha Jyoti scheme, through which the Congress government plans to provide 200 units of free power supply to all households. The Gruha Lakshmi scheme initiative seeks to offer monthly assistance of Rs 2,000 to women heading their families. The Anna Bhagya programme aims to ensure that every member of a below poverty line (BPL) household receives 10 kg of rice free of cost. Furthermore, the government plans to implement the Yuva Nidhi scheme, which entails providing Rs 3,000 per month for two years to unemployed graduates and Rs 1,500 per month to unemployed diploma holders in the age group of 18-25. Lastly, the government aims to promote gender equality and empower women by offering free travel for women in public transport buses, under the Shakti initiative.

Siddaramaiah also said that the orders would be issued soon and the finer details of the schemes would be fleshed out in the next cabinet meeting, expected to take place next week. “These guarantees have already been approved and orders will be issued. Whatever the financial burden, we will not go back,” he said. However, he clarified that the free bus travel for women would be applicable only to women who are from Karnataka. Siddaramaiah has also sought details on the status of Indira canteens. “We will be starting this again, soon,” he said.

The cabinet has also decided to request the Governor to hold the first session of the new Assembly on May 22, 23, and 24, to swear in the new legislators. “The pro tem Speaker (Congress MLA RV Deshpande) will be swearing in the new legislators. After this, we will choose a new Speaker in the same session,” Siddaramaiah said.

On being questioned about the modalities of the schemes, Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar said the government would need a little time to establish the criteria for identifying beneficiaries of the schemes, but assured that they would be completing it next week. For the schemes that involve transfer of money, the amount will be deposited into the bank account of the beneficiary, he said.

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