Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday announced the Congress-led government will implement its five election guarantees without any discrimination based on caste or religion. Following the Assembly elections in May, where the Congress secured an absolute majority by winning 135 out of 224 seats, the government said it estimates that these schemes will incur an annual cost of approximately Rs 50,000 crore.
The Chief Minister, who held his second Cabinet meeting, announced that the state has “decided to implement the five guarantees without any discrimination of caste or religion.”
Guarantee 1: Gruha Jyoti
Siddaramaiah said the Gruha Jyoti, which offers 200 units of free power is the Cabinet’s first guarantee. “From July 1, every month, all households will receive 200 units of free power under Gruha Jyoti. However, customers must pay their arrears. We will calculate the average consumption of electricity bill units over 12 months and then apply a 10 percent deduction. The amount within 200 units of your consumption will be free,” he said.
Guarantee 2: Gruha Lakshmi
To avail this scheme, women need to submit their bank account details, Aadhaar card, and application to determine the head of the household, the Chief Minister said. “Once identified, they will receive Rs 2,000 monthly aid. Applications must be submitted online between June 15 and July 15. After processing the data is completed by August 15, we will launch the scheme and the funds will be deposited into the women’s accounts.”
This scheme is applicable for both BPL and APL families, he added.
Explaining the delay in the scheme, he said, “Initially, we intended to start in June, but we encountered technical issues related to linking Aadhaar cards and bank accounts. However, we have resolved those issues now.”
“For those who avail social security pension, we will also provide Rs 2,000 to the eldest woman in the family. We will not exclude or merge them with other beneficiaries,” he said.
Guarantee 3: Anna Bhagya
Under ‘Anna Bhagya’, 10 kg of food grains will be provided free to all households in the BPL category and Antyodaya cardholders from July 1, Siddaramaiah said.
Noting that the Annabhagya scheme previously provided 7 kgs of food grains, which was reduced to 5 kgs by the previous BJP-led government, he said, “we promised to provide 10 kgs of food grains, and we will fulfill this commitment. The implementation of this increase will begin from July 1 after we recover the necessary stock. All BPL cardholders will be eligible for this benefit, and Antyodaya cardholders can also avail 10 kg of food grains.”
Guarantee 4: Shakti
Under ‘Shakti’, starting from June 11, women can travel for free in public transport buses in Karnataka, excluding AC buses, AC sleeper buses, and other luxury buses. The highly anticipated ‘Shakti’ scheme will guarantee free travel in BMTC and KSRTC buses. The KSRTC will reserve 50 per cent seats for men and the remaining for women, he added.
Guarantee 5: Yuva Nidhi
The scheme promising Rs 3,000 every month for graduate students and Rs 1,500 for diploma students for a duration of 24 months starting from the date of application to the scheme will include transgender applicants. This scheme will encompass all students, without any discrimination based on gender, caste, religion, or language, including transgender individuals, the chief minister said.
Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar stated that this was a historical day and Congress has kept its promises made to the people during the elections.
The Congress government has estimated that the implementation of these schemes may cost approximately Rs 50,000 crore per year.
“We have announced five guarantees. We discussed them elaborately yesterday. Tomorrow, we will take a decision. We have assured that we will give 10 kg rice. There is no second thought about implementing it, but I will explain to you after the Cabinet decision,” said Food and Civil Supplies Minister K H Muniyappa while speaking to reporters on Thursday.
Explaining further, he added, “We will implement the guarantees we have promised in a phased manner.”
Regarding the Anna Bhagya scheme, he mentioned that the state government will request the Centre and the Food Corporation of India (FCI) to provide rice to Karnataka. “In case they (Centre and the FCI) refuse, we will procure rice through tender or organizations on our own and distribute it to the beneficiaries,” Muniyappa said.
During the elections, Congress leader and former party president Rahul Gandhi had stated that these schemes would be implemented on the day the government took over.
However, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah, after assuming power on May 20, stated that the government has agreed in principle to implement the guarantees and requested time until the next cabinet meeting.
“We have given approval in principle. We will gather details, discuss them, consider the financial implications, and then we will certainly fulfill these five guarantee schemes,” Siddaramaiah told reporters after the first Cabinet meeting.