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Karnataka govt formally launches ‘Gruha Jyothi’ free power scheme, CM & Kharge target PM Modi

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KALABURAGI (K’TAKA), Aug 5 (PTI): The Karnataka government on Saturday formally launched ‘Gruha Jyothi’ scheme, one of the five poll guarantees of the Congress party, which promises to provide up to 200 units of free power to households in the state.

Formally launching the scheme by handing over the “zero bill” to 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.

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With the launch of ‘Gruha Jyothi’, the state government has implemented three of the five poll guarantees so far, the other two being, ‘Shakti’, by providing free services for women in public transport buses, and ‘Anna Bhagya’ scheme — by payment of cash in lieu of the additional 5 kg rice to beneficiaries.

The CM indicated that ‘Gruha Lakshmi’ to provide Rs 2,000 monthly assistance to the woman head of every family will be launched mostly on August 24; and ‘Yuva Nidhi’ to provide Rs 3,000 every month for unemployed graduate youth and Rs 1,500 for unemployed diploma holders will be launched by December end or January.

“We had promised to provide up to 200 units of free power. There are 2.14 crore consumers eligible under Gruha Jyothi, and 1.42 crore households have registered. The scheme has come into effect on July 1, as the bill for July electricity consumption will come in the beginning of August, it is being formally launched today,” Siddaramaiah said.

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

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Asserting that there will be a “Karnataka Model” of development, Siddaramaiah said that along with implementing five poll guarantees, his government will implement 76 promises, as announced in the budget, and challenged the BJP to implement the guarantees across the country in all states, if it has “guts”.

“We will fulfill all the promises made in our manifesto, there is no need to have any doubts about it. The opposition is spreading false information that it is not possible to implement five guarantees. Even the Prime Minister of the country has said in Pune that if the guarantees are implemented Karnataka will face economic bankruptcy,” he said.

“I want to tell Narendra Modi that we will implement the five guarantees, we have provided money for it in the budget. Karnataka is not bankrupt. It is in fact Narendra Modi who has made this country bankrupt, not us,” he said, alleging that during three years and 10 months of BJP rule the state was looted, and there was maladministration.

Deputy chief minister D K Shivakumar, also ministers K J George, Priyank Kharge, Sharan Prakash Patil, Eshwar Khandre, among others were present at the event.

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There is a talk across the country regarding the Congress government’s five guarantee schemes, Mallikarjun Kharge said, 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 2 crore jobs and deposit Rs 15 lakh in every bank account has not kept up his promises.

Hitting out 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, fearing consequences in Parliamentary polls on praising the good work of the state government, the PM is making such allegations.

“He (PM) has intelligence and all other agencies under him, let him get it checked whether the schemes are being implemented on the ground and whether it is reaching people,” he said.

Speaking at his home turf of Kalaburagi, from where he lost 2019 Lok Sabha polls, Kharge said, if this country has to be safe, Congress will have to come to power, ‘INDIA’ (alliance) parties will have to come to power in the Parliament.

The leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha, also urged the government and CM to pay attention to the development of the Kalyana-Karnataka region, which is considered to be the backward region of the state, with respect to infrastructure like — schools, hospitals, roads among others, and to ensure that programmes and projects reach the people there.

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

Pointing out that so far 1.42 crore households have registered under the ‘Gruha Jyothi’ scheme, Energy Minister K J George said, this is not a free scheme, it is to improve the financial condition of the people in distress.

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

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

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