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Re. 1 a kg rice for poor in Karnataka

Special Correspondent
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Siddaramaiah announces implementation of several promises in manifesto

A section of the crowd that attended the swearing-in ceremony of Siddaramaiah as the Chief Minister at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore on Monday.— Photo: K. bHAGYA PRAKASH
A section of the crowd that attended the swearing-in ceremony of Siddaramaiah as the Chief Minister at the Kanteerava Stadium in Bangalore on Monday.— Photo: K. bHAGYA PRAKASH

Hours after being sworn in as Chief Minister, Siddaramaiah announced the implementation of several promises made in the Congress poll manifesto, including providing rice at Re. 1 a kg to poor families through the Public Distribution System from June 1.

Soon after taking oath, he held a meeting with top government officials in his office at the Vidhana Soudha. Later, addressing his first press conference as Chief Minister, he announced the immediate implementation of various schemes that would benefit 1.38 crore families and cost the State exchequer Rs. 4,409.81 crore in 2013-14.

The scheme of 1 kg of rice at Re. 1 (maximum of 30 kg per family each month) will benefit 98.17 lakh below the poverty line (BPL) families, and the subsidy will cost the government Rs. 460 crore a year. The BJP government had distributed 20 kg of rice per family at Rs. 3 a kg.

In another major decision, he announced that loans borrowed by members of the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes, other backward classes and minorities from State-run corporations would be waived.

Loans totalling Rs. 349 crore borrowed by SC and ST beneficiaries from the Ambedkar Development Corporation were waived. A total of 1.87 lakh SC families would be benefit from waiver. The outstanding principal and interest arrears stood at Rs. 186 crore and Rs. 91 crore respectively (total Rs. 277.72 crore). Loans borrowed by 40,072 ST families amounting to Rs. 68.69 crore were also waived.

The Chief Minister also waived loans amounting to Rs. 514.26 crore of 4.98 lakh persons from other backward classes from the Devaraj Urs Corporation.

Loans totalling Rs. 362 crore due from members of minority communities to various corporations, including the Minorities Development Corporation, were also waived to benefit three lakh people.

Mr. Siddaramaiah increased the incentive for milk producers from Rs. 2 to Rs. 4 a litre with immediate effect. A total of 7.5 lakh milk producers will benefit, and the subsidy will amount to Rs. 496 crore a year. The BJP government had granted an incentive of Rs. 2 a litre.

In a major boost to housing schemes, the Chief Minister said the government subsidy for construction of houses under various schemes such as Ashraya, Ambedkar, Indira Awas would be enhanced from Rs. 75,000 per unit to Rs 1.20 lakh. Each beneficiary has to contribute Rs. 30,000.

About three lakh houses would be constructed in 2013-14 and the government would incur an expenditure of Rs. 1,960 crore. A sum of Rs. 500 crore would be spent under the Indira Awas housing scheme alone. Mr. Siddaramaiah said the government was committed to making the State hut-free in the next five years.

The Government has decided to restore power supply to all households under the Bhagya Jyothi scheme. Mr. Siddaramaiah said the BJP government had disconnected electricity for non-payment of bills totalling Rs. 268 crore. Nearly 20 lakh BPL households have Bhagya Jyothi connections.

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