5 Cong ‘guarantees’ may cost exchequer Rs 50,000 crore


The implementation of the five ‘guarantees’ announced by the Congress may cost the state exchequer an estimated Rs 50,000 crore annually.
Key party leaders who spoke about the cost of the welfare measures insisted that one could not call them “freebies” as they were tools of empowerment.
The ‘guarantees’ found resonance with voters of the 10 May Assembly elections, particularly with women, and played a key role in the party’s resounding victory, political analysts noted.
Some BJP leaders have alleged that implementation of the ‘guarantees’ would push the State into financial bankruptcy, and have also claimed that the Congress would not honour its pre-poll promises fully.
During campaigning, Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders had repeatedly said that if voted to power, the party’s government in its maiden Cabinet meeting on the first day of assuming power would pass orders approving the ‘guarantees’ to facilitate their swift implementation.
The five schemes that the Congress guaranteed it would implement are Gruha Jyothi’ — to provide 200 units electricity free to every household; ‘Gruha Lakshmi’ — to grant Rs 2,000 to every woman head of a family; ‘Anna Bhagya’ — to distribute 10 kg rice to every member of BPL families every month; ‘Yuva Nidhi’ — to sanction Rs 3,000 dole to unemployed graduates and Rs 1,500 to unemployed diploma holders for two years (in the 18-25 age-group); and ‘Shakti’ — to enable free travel for women across Karnataka in state buses.
Vice chairman of the Congress manifesto drafting committee Professor K E Radhakrishna said the implementation of the five guarantee schemes will not cost more than Rs 50,000 crore annually.
“I can authoritatively say that all these guarantee schemes put together will not be more than Rs 50,000 crore,” he said.
Radhakrishna, who has the distinction of drafting five manifestos for the Congress, said even some of the Congress leaders have the perception that these schemes cannot be implemented.
“Some of our leaders have that perception but we are very sure because I have worked out the financial implications. It is not more than Rs 50,000 crore. Even Rs 50,000 crore is not a charity. It’s empowerment,” he said.
Explaining the way these schemes will be implemented, the educationist noted that the total budget of Karnataka government is about Rs three lakh crore.
At least 60 per cent of revenue of any good economy is spent on sustained development, Radhakrishna said, adding that it goes to paying salary of government employees and to implement empowerment programmes.
“Revenue moves capital, capital moves revenue. So, Rs 1.50 lakh crore of the Rs three lakh crore budget has to be spent. If that does not happen, then we will not have funds to spend another Rs 1.5 lakh crore. They are related to each other,” he explained.
He said these five schemes are meant only to empower people and they are not freebies.