The Congress government in Karnataka Friday announced the implementation of two of its five programmes promised in its election manifesto. Chief Minister Siddaramaiah unveiled the Gruha Lakshmi and Yuvanidhi schemes for women and the unemployed via direct benefit transfer (DBT) schemes.
Karnataka is the fourth state to take the DBT route to implement such schemes for the benefit its people. Tamil Nadu, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh have already operationalised such progammes.
After the first cabinet meeting on May 20, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said the government will spent Rs 50,000 crore annually to fulfill the guarantee. He said his government is confident of implementing five guarantees at any cost. The government can arrange the cost after cutting down on wasteful expenditure, he noted.
Under the Gruha Lakshmi scheme, Rs 2,000 per month to women heads of all households will be transferred to their bank accounts. Under the Yuvanidhi plan, an allowance of Rs 3,000 per month for graduates aged between 18-25 years and Rs 1,500 per month for diploma holders in the same age group will be disbursed via DBT.
The three other schemes that Congress had promised in the manifesto as guarantees are: Free power of 200 units per month to all households under Gruha Jyothi scheme, 10 kg grain per person per month for below poverty line families under the Anna Bhagya scheme and free bus travel for women under the Gruha Shakti plan. Many people have welcomed the promises and praised the government’s step to fulfill promises made in the Congress manifesto.
Karnataka Rural Development, Panchayat Raj, IT/BT Minister Priyank Kharge on Friday said there is no scheme that is free for all but as promised, it will be implemented with the some rules and regulations.
After the implementation of the scheme, many economists have raised their concern about the revenue generation and suggested money can be raised through three sources to bear the cost of the scheme by increasing excise, entertainment taxes, and by hiking rent for government property. Some experts fear it will be difficult for the Karnataka government to raise the revenue and meet the Rs 50,000 crore estimated yearly expenditure which can exceed projections.
In Telangana, the K Chandrasekhara Rao-led BRS government has cumulatively disbursed Rs 65,559 crore over 10 crop seasons with the money deposited into the Aadhaar-seeded accounts of 65 lakh land-owning farmers under the DBT scheme. The YS Jagan Mohan Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh has transferred Rs 210,177.89 crore to the 7.89 crore beneficiaries under 28 DBT schemes.
The DBT scheme has been criticized because it has reduced state accountability in public services after DBT disbursal.
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