Karnataka chief minister Siddaramaiah on Monday met the heads of the departments that would be implementing the Congress’s promised five guarantees to women, BPL families and educated but unemployed youths.
With the Opposition BJP and the Janata Dal Secular already accusing the Congress of delaying the implementation of its pre-poll promises, Siddaramaiah directed the officials to work out the criteria and modalities for the beneficiaries.
Deputy chief minister D.K. Shivakumar said an announcement would be made on the implementation after the cabinet meeting scheduled for Thursday.
“We will fulfil our promises. We will take the decision in the cabinet meeting to be held on June 1,” he told reporters on Monday.
Asked about the Opposition allegations, he said: “We need to go about it (the implementation) systematically.”
He added: “We cannot stop anyone from criticising us, but we will answer with our good work.”
The BJP has asked people not to pay their electricity bills, citing the Congress promise of 200 units of free electricity a month. Some consumers have refused to pay their energy bills.
The government had accorded in-principle approval to the five guarantees within hours of the swearing-in on May 20. Siddaramaiah had then said the programmes would cost the government about Rs 50,000 crore a year.
The five guarantees are: 200 free units of electricity each month to every household under the Gruha Jyothi scheme, Rs 2,000 for women heads of poor families each month under the Gruha Lakshmi scheme, 10 kilos of free rice per head each month for BPL families under the Anna Bhagya scheme, free rides for Karnataka-resident women on government buses under the Uchita Prayana scheme, and a Yuva Nidhi scheme under which a monthly unemployment allowance of Rs 3,000 would be provided to graduates and Rs 1,500 to diploma holders for up to two years or until they get employed, whichever is earlier.
Former BJP chief minister Basavaraj Bommai accused the Congress of “cheating the people of Karnataka”.
“Before the elections they said the schemes are for everyone. They said it (200 units of power) is free for everyone. But now they are dithering, saying there could be conditions. This means they have cheated the people of Karnataka,” he told reporters.
The newly appointed minister for women and child development, Laxmi Hebbalkar, said the guarantees would be implemented sooner rather than later.
“The people voted us to power because they were fed up with the BJP government, and not just because we gave them the five guarantees,” she said on Monday.
“Some streamlining is needed before we launch these schemes. The chief minister has already given in-principle clearance to the schemes and instructed all the departments concerned to work on them. We will roll them out once we finalise the modalities.”
On the criticism from the BJP and the JDS, she said: “They too ran governments and should know how certain decisions take time (to implement). The people know how many of their promises were fulfilled.”