Monday, May 13, 2013

Siddaramaiah sworn in, unveils Rs 4,400-cr sops

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Newly-elected Congress Legislature Party leader Siddaramaiah was on Monday sworn in as the 22nd Chief Minister of Karnataka. Despite having no ministers in his government, he lost no time in announcing sops amounting to Rs 4,409 crore per year, benefitting 1.38 crore people, as part of the promises made in the Congress manifesto.

Breaking the convention of chief ministers taking oath on the ramparts of the Vidhana Soudha — on account of the construction of Bangalore Metro — Siddaramaiah was sworn in by Governor H R Bhardwaj in a packed Kanteerava Sports Stadium.

Soon after taking over as the CM, in his first press conference Siddaramaiah surprised everyone by announcing immediate implementation of a Rs 4 government subsidy on every litre of milk produced by dairy farmers, amounting to a cost of Rs 496 crore per annum on the exchequer and benefiting 7.5 lakh milk producers.

He said beginning June 1 the state government would provide rice at Re 1 per kg up to a maximum of 30 kg for BPL families. This scheme would benefit 98.17 lakh people and will cost the government Rs 460 crore per annum.

\"The BJP government was offering rice at Rs 3 a kg. We promised to give it at Re 1 a kg. The previous government set a cap of 16 kg for every BPL family but we are doing away with the unit system of the previous government,\" Siddaramaiah said.

He added that the government will spend an additional Rs 1,960 crore per year as house construction subsidy in rural areas. The move entails increasing an already existing house construction subsidy from Rs 75,000 to Rs 1.2 lakh per house with the state government matching a Central subsidy and is expected to benefit 2.72 lakh people this year. \"We need to build more than 12 lakh homes to make rural Karnataka shanty free; we want to build three lakh homes every year over the next five years,\'\' he said.

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