Siddaramaiah was sworn in as Chief Minister of Karnataka and D.K. Shivakumar as Deputy Chief Minister at a grand ceremony, attended by thousands, at Kanteerava Stadium on Saturday. Hours later, the first Cabinet meeting, presided over by the former, approved implementation of five “guarantees” that the Congress had promised to voters in its poll manifesto.
After the in-principle Cabinet approval, the Congress government issued orders for implementation of the five guarantees: increasing the foodgrains for each member of a BPL family from 5 kg to 10 kg per month under the ‘Anna Bhagya’ scheme, providing ₹3,000 dole to unemployed graduates, and ₹1,500 to unemployed diploma holders (in the 18-25 age-group) every month for two years under the Yuva Nidhi’ scheme, free 200 units of power per month under the ‘Gruha Jyothi’ scheme, and free travel for women in BMTC and KSRTC buses in all divisions of Karnataka under the ‘Shakti’ scheme, and providing grant of ₹2,000 for every women head of a family every month under the ‘Gruha Lakshmi’ scheme.
What it will cost
The estimated cost for implementation of these schemes would be ₹50,000 crore per year. Orders said separate circulars would be issued on rules and conditions for implementation of the schemes. Mr. Shivakumar and eight Ministers, who also took oath on Saturday, attended the meeting.
The implementation of the ‘Gruha Jyothi’ scheme would cost the State exchequer ₹1,200 crore every month, the Chief Minister explained. Under ‘Yuva Nidhi’, he said the amount would be given to graduates and postgraduates who remained unemployed for the first two years after the completion of the course.
Mr. Siddaramaiah said details on eligible beneficiaries and implementation of these schemes would be worked out during the next Cabinet meeting. Departments concerned had been asked to work out details.
‘State won’t become bankrupt’
Responding to the allegations of a few BJP leaders that implementation of the “guarantees” would push the State into financial bankruptcy, Mr. Siddaramaiah said: “I am confident that the State will not be allowed to become bankrupt by implementation of these ‘guarantees’. He also said: “There is no going back on implementation of these schemes at any cost.”
He said the size of the Budget would grow 10% every year. The 2023-24 Budget size was ₹3.10 lakh crore. The Congress government would present a ₹3.25 lakh crore Budget. Wasteful expenditure would be reduced and steps would be taken for mobilising more revenue for implementing the “guarantees”, the Chief Minister promised.