As K’taka Cong delivers promised freebies, BJP raises bankruptcy fears
Bengaluru: Karnataka’s Congress government is on cloud nine after implementation of the Griha Laxmi scheme, dubbed as the world’s largest welfare scheme in terms of scale.
As many as 1.10 crore women heads of family were given a Rs 2,000 monthly allowance through Direct Benefit Transfer. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, Dy CM D.K. Shivakumar, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge have pledged that they will keep their word on delivering freebie schemes.
The official statistics state that the Griha Jyothi (free power) scheme has reached 1.56 crore households and they have zero electricity bills; 48.5 crore women have travelled free in buses under the Shakthi scheme and 1.39 crore households have benefited from the Anna Bhagya free rice programme.
Siddaramaiah had stated that the Yuva Nidhi programme under which unemployed graduates and diploma holders will get a monthly allowance of Rs 2,000 and Rs 1,500 respectively would be launched soon.
Rahul Gandhi has said that the guarantee schemes launched in Karnataka are role models for the country. He had also stated that they would be replicated in the rest of the country. The Congress is all set to continue its domination in Karnataka as the BJP is mired in infighting.
However, concerns have been raised across a section of society. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made special references to the guarantee schemes implemented in Karnataka and warned that these schemes would take the state towards bankruptcy.
Karunakar Kasale, state media coordinator for the BJP, told IANS that the guarantee schemes have not been implemented on a full scale. The Congress government is not understanding the financial burden.
The Congress leadership is only bothered about the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. There is a possibility of a checkmate after the national elections. The rates for transfers to various posts have seen a drastic rise, he added.
Free travel is allowed only in ordinary buses. The conductors and drivers of the state-owned buses are demanding their salaries, he complained. “Not even a one-kilometre road has been laid since the Congress came to power. There is no development at all. The purchase of cement, jelly stones, and loose sand has been stopped. The purchases would have generated employment and transaction of money at the lower strata,” he stated.
Kasale maintained that a labourer could have earned Rs 15,000 per month easily. With the development projects halted, they will have to be satisfied with a monthly allowance of Rs 2,000.
Political analyst Channabasappa Rudrappa told IANS that the freebie schemes are faring well in the state. The Congress leadership is seriously involved in implementing the guarantee schemes. Every third home in Karnataka has been benefited by one or the other scheme. The lower middle class and the poor are getting the maximum benefits.
Men and women are thronging the banks to get enrolled in the schemes, there are queues before ration shops. The government has estimated that Rs 56,000 crores would be spent on freebies every year. Rs 13,000 crore reserved for SC and ST welfare schemes have been diverted while excise duty has been hiked to generate funds, he explained.
The release of funds for development has stopped and MLAs are making an issue of it. However, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah through the implementation of the guarantees has reinforced himself. At this point in time not even former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda or former CM B.S. Yediyurappa can challenge him, said Rudrappa.