Karnataka government launches its ambitious Gruha Jyothi free power scheme from Kalaburagi

Hitting out at PM Modi, Siddaramaiah dared the Union government to implement these guarantees in all states in India.

ByBellie Thomas

Published Aug 05, 2023 | 8:51 PM Updated Aug 05, 2023 | 8:51 PM

Karnataka government launches Gruha Jyothi scheme from Kalaburagi. (Supplied)

The Siddaramaiah-led government, on Saturday, 5 August, launched its ambitious free electricity scheme — Gruha Jyothi — one of the five poll guarantees promised by the Karnataka Congress. The aim of the scheme is to provide up to 200 units of free power to all households in the state.

Formally launching the scheme by handing over the “zero bill” to around 10 people symbolically, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Congress national president Mallikarjun Kharge targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for accusing the ruling Congress of “emptying” state coffers for selfish interests through populist announcements.

Congress’s poll guarantees

With the launch of the Gruha Jyothi scheme, the state government has implemented three of five poll guarantees so far. The two others were the Shakti scheme — providing free services for women in public transport buses — and the Anna Bhagya scheme — cash distribution in lieu of 5 kg rice to beneficiaries.

The chief minister indicated that the Gruha Lakshmi scheme will provide ₹2,000 monthly assistance to the woman head of every family and will be launched mostly on 24 August. He said that the other poll promise, Yuva Nidhi — which will provide ₹3,000 every month for unemployed graduate youth and ₹1,500 for unemployed diploma holders — will be launched by December-end or by January next year.

“It’s a historic day. We had promised to provide up to 200 units of free power. There are 2.14 crore consumers eligible under the Gruha Jyothi scheme and around 1.42 crore households have already registered,” Siddaramaiah said.

He added, “The scheme has come into effect on 1 July, as the bill for July’s electricity consumption will come in the beginning of August, and it is being formally launched today (5 August),” Siddaramaiah added.

The benefit under the Gruha Jyothi scheme is calculated based on the average consumption for the financial year 2022-23, plus 10 percent additional, but a total amounting to less than 200 units of the power used.

Also Read: Karnataka to use ₹11,000 Cr SC funds to implement guarantees

Taking on Modi and the BJP

Chief Minister Siddaramaiah challenged the BJP to take a decision to implement the five guarantees in all the states across the entire country if it has the strength.

Asserting that there will be a “Karnataka Model” of development for the entire country to see, Siddaramaiah said, “Along with implementing the five poll guarantees, our government will implement 76 promises as announced in the budget and we challenge Prime Minister Narendra Modi to implement these guarantees across all states in the country if the BJP has got the guts.”

K'taka Congress Government Launches Gruha Jyothi Scheme from Kalaburagi

Karnataka government launches Gruha Jyothi scheme from Kalaburagi. (Supplied)

Witnessing the five guarantees being implemented one after the other in the state, the BJP leaders have developed “stomach burns”, stated Siddaramaiah.

“Apart from the Opposition, even the prime minister of the country has said in Pune that if the guarantees are implemented, Karnataka will face economic bankruptcy. We will fulfill all the promises made in our manifesto, there is no need to have any doubts about it,” the chief minister said.

He added, “The Opposition is spreading false information that it is not possible to implement the five guarantees. The state is not insolvent from the guarantee schemes. Narendra Modi has bankrupted this country. Karnataka was financially secure in the past when all promises were fulfilled,” Siddaramaiah said as he addressed the thousands of people gathered for the launch.

He stated that the BJP government looted the wealth of the state, increased the prices, increased the problem of unemployment, and did injustice to the poor, backward castes, and minorities of the state when it was in power.

Speaking about the contributions of the BJP, the chief minister said, “The Narendra Modi government at the Centre, Yediyurappa, and Basavaraj Bommai governments in Karnataka have made the state backward. BJP’s contribution was to change the name of Hyderabad Karnataka, to Kalyan Karnataka.”

Calling the BJP an anti-poor government, Siddaramaiah said the Modi government did politics over granting rice to the state, interrupting the Anna Bhagya scheme. Mocking the so-called Gujarat Model, the chief minister said that the Karnataka Model would be followed across the entire country.

Also Read: Minister Priyank Kharge on economic stability & ‘guarantees’

Let Modi check if people are benefitted: Kharge

Addressing the gathering, AICC President Mallikarjun Kharge said, “There is a talk across the country regarding the Congress government’s five guarantee schemes. One after the other they are being implemented, as they are not ‘bogus announcements’.

“Congress always walks the talk, while Prime Minister Modi, who had promised to generate two crore jobs for the youth and deposit ₹15 lakh in every bank account, has not kept his promises till now.”

Hitting out at Modi for criticising the Karnataka government’s guarantee schemes and claiming that the state was being led towards “bankruptcy” at a function in Pune recently, the AICC chief said , “He (Modi) has the Intelligence Bureau under him and several other agencies working for him. Let him get it checked whether the schemes are being implemented at the ground level and whether it is reaching the people,” Kharge said.

Speaking on his home turf of Kalaburagi, from where he lost the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Kharge noted that if India has to be safe, the Congress will have to come to power, “INDIA” (alliance) parties will have to come to power in the Parliament, he said.

The Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha also urged the government and the chief minister to pay attention to the development of the Kalyana-Karnataka region, which is considered to be a backward region of the state, with respect to infrastructure, and to ensure that programmes and projects reach the people there.

“Ensure that government programmes are launched from here, so that it instills confidence among the people here. Also Kalyana-Karnataka has always given you (Congress) more than 50 percent of the seats,” he added.

Also Read: K’taka minister blames Centre hacking Gruha Jyothi registrations glitches

1.42 crore applicants so far

Deputy Chief Minister DK Shivakumar, Energy Minister KJ George, Kalaburagi district In-charge and Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister Priyank Kharge, Ministers Ishwara Khandre, Rahim Khan, Sharan Prakash Patil, MLAs A Allamprabhu, Kaneez Fatima, BR Patil, MY Patil were present at the launch event.

Pointing out that so far 1.42 crore households have registered under the Gruha Jyothi scheme, Energy Minister KJ George said that this is not a free scheme. It is to improve and enhance the financial status of the people who are already in distress due to price rise of petrol, diesel, LPG gas, GST, etc.

Clarifying the deadline for the Gruha Jyothi scheme, George said, “There is no deadline to apply for this scheme. Those who register by 27 August will also get the benefit of the scheme when they get the bill for August electricity usage in the first week of September,” the minister added.

Of the 1.42 crore applicants so far, close to 18 lakh were received from beneficiaries of various existing schemes such as Bhagya Jyothi, Kuteera Jyothi and Amrut Jyothi.

(With PTI inputs)