Four months since launch, ‘Gruha Lakshmi’ in Karnataka is a web of ‘technical errors’, delayed payments

After coming to power, the Siddaramaiah-led Congress government launched this guarantee on 30 August 2023 at Mysuru.

ByMahesh M Goudar

Published Jan 04, 2024 | 10:00 AMUpdatedJan 04, 2024 | 10:00 AM

Karnataka Gruha Lakshmi Yojana CM Siddaramaiah Laxmi Hebbalkar

The promise was irresistible: “₹2,000 per month. That means ₹24,000 a year directly to your bank account.” It was one of the guarantees on which Congress rode to power with a thumping majority in Karnataka in May 2023.

The Siddaramaiah-led Congress government did roll out its ambitious programme, the Gruha Lakshmi Yojana, in August last, a step towards Universal Basic Income, with much fanfare.

Four months since its launch the scheme is riddled with glitches. Several beneficiaries have not been receiving the monthly payments regularly as promised.

Some received the first instalment. The beneficiaries are now questioning the government for the irregular, delayed and, in some cases, the absence of the guaranteed monthly financial assistance.

The missing Gruha Lakshmi assistance 

In rural Karnataka, thousands of beneficiaries are complaining that despite their applications being approved, some received the money only once. Others received the assistance for two months, while many are waiting for their first instalment of the scheme.

The government could not ignore the plethora of complaints. It held a three-day Gruha Lakshmi Yojana Adalat in all gram panchayats in the state to address the issues faced by the applicants from 27 December.

The current dispensation has been repeatedly blaming “technical glitches” for the hiccups. South First attempted to find out the technical glitches that are dogging the Gruha Lakshmi scheme.

Anganwadi teacher Basamma said applications of several people from her village in Khustagi taluk were rejected because the applicants failed to update their KYC, link Aadhaar with bank accounts, or errors in BPL cards and other documents, “Hence the delay,” she told South First.

“The adalat helped to resolve the KYC and other issues. Applicants have now addressed the issues and reapplied for the scheme,” she added.

Recently in Koppal, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah was taken aback when journalists asked him about the delay in making payments under the Gruha Lakshmi scheme. Attributing the delay to technical issues, he assured that payments would be made at the earliest.

In the run-up to the 2023 Karnataka Assembly elections, the Congress had made five guarantees, including Gruha Lakshmi.

According to the Women and Child Welfare Department, “Around 1.17 crore people have registered for the Gruha Lakshmi Yojana in the state. Over ₹2,200 crore is being spent every month for the implementation of the financial benefit scheme.”

Also Read: Lack of bank accounts, ration cards dishearten applicants for 6 Congress guarantees in Telangana

The complaints

Shanteshwari (name changed), a homemaker from Rajankolur village in the Yadgir district, told South First that she received the payments for the first two months but did not get it the next month. “Even some of my neighbours have got ₹2,000 only and are waiting for the remaining months’ payment,” she said.

Basavaraj Pujari of Dharwad said his mother received payments for the first two months. “Sometimes, the government credits money during the first half of the month and a few times in the last week.”

“I am following up with the authorities. They claim that the payment is delayed due to technical issues and most of the time they don’t respond,” Pujari added.

Ballari’s Nikshith J Mendon took to X to raise his concern, “My mother is yet to receive ₹2,000 since the inception of the Gruha Lakshmi scheme. Please take a look at the issues and inform the concerned to address the same.”

Businessman Kiran Kumar of Athani said his mother, who applied in August itself, had been getting ₹2,000 every month. “But she has not received it in December,” he claimed.

“We usually get the money during the last week of every month. We did not face any issues while registering for the scheme,” Kumar told South First.

According to the Women and Child Welfare Department, “A total of ₹2,169 crore was released to over 1.10 crore beneficiaries in August 2023. Similarly, the government released ₹2,288 crore to 1.14 crore beneficiaries in September.”

“The registrations increased by two lakh in October, and the government released ₹2,400 crore. Around five lakh, 12 lakh, and 7.9 lakh beneficiaries were left out from the scheme in August, September, and October, respectively,” the Women and Child Welfare Department claimed — according to Deccan Herald reports.

Also Read: Telangana government kickstarts Praja Palana

Gruha Lakshmi Yojana Adalat

Thousands of beneficiaries attended the the three-day adalat with grievances.

“All applicants are not receiving payments regularly. Some have received payment for only one or two months, but most of them have got all the instalments. Several people are still applying for the scheme after making necessary corrections in the BPL card,” Anganwadi teacher Shaila Pujar told South First.

“The government’s initiative of holding the Gruha Lakshmi Yojana Adalat helped several applicants to find a solution to their issues. Those who have not got the money are running from pillar to post. The officers and staff concerned do not respond properly when asked about the delay in releasing payments,” Basamma (name changed) of Koppal district told South First.

The adalats were organised based on a directive by the Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj (RDPR), Priyank Kharge.

Officials insist on visiting CDPO office

Department of Women and Child Welfare officials have been advising the applicants to visit their respective local Child Development Project Office (CDPO).

Detailing the technical glitches being faced by the department, a Women and Child Development Department official said the delay was caused by erroneous applications, and the department could not be held responsible.

We are still accepting fresh applications. Every day, around 400 to 500 people are registering for the scheme. Over 1.17 crore women have registered. The government has also released the funds for November and December. On an average ₹2,350 crore is being spent every month for Gruha Lakshmi Yojana,” she added.

On whether the government has established any helpline to handle the queries of the applicants and beneficiaries, she told South First: “We have not set up any helpline. If applicants and beneficiaries have any issues, they can approach the Child Development Project Office.”

“There is no need for them to run from one office to another. We have to validate the ID of every beneficiary every month and submit the bill to the Finance Department by the 20th of every month.”

“In the process, if we find out any mistakes in the documentation, further process including DBT will be withheld until it is sorted out. There is nothing to worry about if the beneficiaries are not getting the funds regularly. They will be paid the pending dues as well,” the official said when asked about irregular payment.

Also Read: Congress sets sights on 2024 polls with Gruha Lakshmi launch

‘December instalment will be credited from 5 January’

Minister for Women and Child Welfare Laxmi Hebbalkar admitted that there was a delay in crediting money.

“This is one of the biggest schemes of the state government. There are chances of small errors. However, the department will solve them at the earliest,” she told reporters in Bengaluru on 25 December,

“Of the total registered beneficiaries, around one to two lakh women have not received payments. Over 1.17 crore beneficiaries are availing of this financial assistance scheme. The December instalment will be credited from 5 January,” she added.

She also said that the technical issues will also be sorted out at the earliest.

The Director of the Women and Child Welfare Department did not respond to South First‘s calls.