Over 1.2 cr families coming out of poverty line due to Cong govt's guarantee schemes: Karnataka Guv

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Karnataka Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot being welcomed by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at Vidhanasoudha in Bengaluru

Karnataka Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot being welcomed by Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah at Vidhanasoudha in Bengaluru

Bengaluru: More than 1.2 crore families are coming out of the poverty line and rising to the middle class status because of the guarantee schemes implemented by the Karnataka Government, Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot said on Monday projecting the state's model of development.

In his customary address to both Houses of Legislature at the beginning of the budget session, he also said Karnataka gets less in terms of tax share (devolution), despite being ranked second among the states that collect highest tax in the country, remarks seen as the Congress government's dig at the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.

Interestingly, BJP legislators were seen wearing saffron shawls during the proceedings and shouted "Jai Sri Ram", "Bharat Mata Ki Jai" slogans at the end of the Governor's speech.

"In today's context of increasing economic inequality in the country, Karnataka is leading economically by following the path of development, by reducing economic inequality," Gehlot said, adding due to the guarantee schemes implemented by it, more than 1.2 crore families are coming out of the poverty line and rising to the middle class status.

Development not only means economic development but also includes sustainable development and social harmony, and with these factors the government has been following the "Karnataka Model" from the moment it came to power, he said. "My Government's aim is to further strengthen this model and make Karnataka state unique in the entire country." The government's five guarantee schemes have provided solace to the people suffering from growing economic inequality, the Governor further said.

"It is a global record that more than five crore people of the State will be promoted to middle class status by this one decision (guarantee schemes) of my Government," Gehlot said.

Karnataka's guarantee schemes are a model for the country, he said, adding that other governments are competing to adopt them.

The Congress government's five guarantee schemes are: 200 units of free power to all households (Gruha Jyoti), Rs 2,000 monthly assistance to woman head of every family (Gruha Lakshmi), payment of cash in lieu of additional 5 kg of rice to every member of a BPL household (Anna Bhagya), Rs 3,000 every month for unemployed graduate youth and Rs 1,500 for unemployed diploma holders (both in the age group of 18-25) for two years (YuvaNidhi) and free travel for women in public transport buses (Shakti).

Noting that the money in the hands of the people from the guarantee schemes has given a new boost to the economy, Gehlot also said domestic and foreign investment is flowing into the State in a big way. In the last eight months, investment of more than Rs 77,000 crore has come into the state.

"On the other hand, economic activities are picking up due to new accumulation of purchasing power among the people due to guarantee schemes," he added.

The government is ready to implement more pro-people schemes, the Governor said. However, not enough resources are available from various sources.

"Karnataka ranks second among the states that collects highest tax in the country. But it is ranked tenth in terms of receipt of tax share. My Government is putting every effort to get our due share in a rightful and justifiable manner," he said.

Pointing out that a large part of the state is facing severe drought conditions, Gehlot said, Karnataka has declared drought in 223 taluks out of 240 during Kharif 2023, of which 196 taluks are categorised as severely drought affected. The state government has released Rs 324 crore to 31 districts for immediate drought relief measures like availability of drinking water and fodder.

The State government has submitted memorandums related to Kharif Drought Relief to the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Government of India, seeking financial assistance of Rs 18,171.44 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund for drought relief measures, he said. "Till now, no amount has been released. The State Government is making all necessary efforts to release drought relief urgently to alleviate the sufferings of the people." In the wake of the drought situation, as per State Disaster Response Fund guidelines, the government has disbursed input subsidy of Rs 617 crore to 32.50 lakh drought affected farmers as first instalment of crop damage compensation up to Rs 2,000 as per eligibility, he added.

Speaking on Kannada pride, the Governor said, "survival and growth of Kannada language is a matter of life and death for us. We will not tolerate any attack on our language and culture." The government is committed to preserve and develop our mother tongue and the Karnataka culture advocated by Basavanna and Kuvempu, among others, at any cost, he added.

Highlighting investments and job creation in the state, Gehlot said the State-Level Single Window Clearance Committee has approved 165 investment projects, wherein Rs 45,325 crore investments will be made; they will create employment opportunities to 42,292 people.

He also pointed out that the government has decided in principle to establish 100 new Village Courts in the state as part of the aim to bring justice to the doorstep of rural people.

The government is devising a new education policy to equip the youth to embrace opportunities and inculcate entrepreneurship, the Governor said.

The State Education Policy of Karnataka will open up new possibilities of providing education that will meet the needs of present and future with the educational progress that it has already achieved.

Further noting that to facilitate regional rapid transit and connectivity in Karnataka, operations of Shivamogga Airport commenced from August 31, 2023, Gehlot said Vijayapura airport will be completed and made operational in 2024.

Hassan and Raichur airport construction work will be completed within the stipulated time, he added.