Karnataka Govt will stop guarantee schemes for certain sections after polls, claims BJP leader

PTI, Feb 22, 2024, 7:03 PM IST

Deputy Leader of Opposition and BJP leader Arvind Bellad on Thursday claimed that the Karnataka government intends to stop implementing its guarantee schemes for certain sections of beneficiaries after the Lok Sabha polls.

He said he has gained access to a Finance Department letter to Chief Minister Siddaramaiah which proposes exclusion criteria, which will be used to leave out some beneficiaries from the guarantee schemes. Participating in the discussion on the budget in the legislative assembly, Bellad also alleged that the chief minister in his recent state budget allocated Rs 3,000 crore for minorities by cutting down allocations to various other communities.

”They (Congress) repeatedly boast about guarantee schemes, but what is the real intention of this government? This government’s intention is to stop the guarantee schemes after the upcoming elections,” Bellad said. ”I have a Finance Department letter with me. They have proposed exclusion criteria to the chief minister, as to who has to be removed (as beneficiaries) from guarantee schemes.” He said that the letter proposes that Anganwadi and Asha workers, government’s outsourced and contract workers, guest teachers and grama sahayakas be declared ineligible to receive welfare under the guarantee schemes. ”The government has this plan. There is a proposal from the Finance Department, I have the letter,” he declared.

Responding to this, Transport Minister Ramalinga Reddy sought to point out that even if there is such a letter, ultimately it is the government that will take a decision.

Bellad countered saying the finance department comes under the chief minister, and asked: ”Will they (department) do such a thing without it coming to the notice of the chief minister? It is not possible.” Alleging that allocations in the budget to various caste-based communities such as Adijambava, Lambanis, Bovi, Veershaiva-Lingayats, Vokkaligas, and also Ambedkar Development Corporation (SC/ST), among others have been reduced, the MLA asked, ”Where has all this money gone?” He answered the question himself, claiming, ”It has gone to (religious) minorities.” He alleged, ”…by cutting (allocations) to all others, they have given Rs 3,000 crore to minorities,” and asked, ”What is their (government) answer to this?” To this, several Congress legislators including MLA Tanveer Sait questioned why the (religious) minorities should not be given more. ”What is this? If there is cut to other communities, ask for it…” he responded.

Bellad replied, ”Let them (govt) give more, not just Rs 3,000 crore. Let them give Rs 30,000 crore, but why cut from others?” The BJP leader also went on to say that budget allocations for several major departments such as irrigation, rural development, and transport, among others, have come down.

Siddaramaiah often claims that his administration is pro backward classes, SC/STs, but he has allocated less — compared to the previous budget by the BJP government — to Dr B R Ambedkar Development Corporation, Thanda Development Corporation, Adijambava Development Corporation, Bhovi Development Corporation, and Devraj Urs Backward Classes Development Corporation, among others.

Also, allocations to community bodies of Kurubas and Veerashaiva-Lingayats — despite the chief minister and a large number of Congress MLAs being from these communities — have come down, he added.

Bellad further said that religious maths of various communities have been given only Rs 30 crore, whereas the previous BJP allocated Rs 154 crore. Not even Rs 10 crore has been given for maintenance of Hindu cremation grounds, he added.

Moreover, allocations for scholarship to students from backward classes, employee welfare, and weavers’ welfare have also come down, he pointed out.

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