The Karnataka cabinet’s decision to implement the five flagship guarantees has evoked mixed responses in North Karnataka. While women folk are happy over the prospect of travelling free in the state transport buses, men are sceptical about the possibility of hike in bus fare to make up for the shortage caused by allowing women free travel.
However, the decision to provide 10kg of rice to each member of a BPL family every month has not gone well with the people in the region. The consumption of rice in North Karnataka is much less when compared to that in coastal or southern part of the state.
“We consume jowar roti as a major component of our meals and as such do not need 10kg of rice per member every month. Out of 10 kg, the central government gives five kg. We want the central government to give us money in lieu of five kg of rice. It should transfer the money directly to our bank account so that we can buy jowar, dal, edible oil etc. Transferring money directly to our bank accounts will also prevent any kind of pilferage,” said Basanagouda Patil of Jakkali village in Ron taluk of Gadag district.
Haseena, a domestic help said there are eight adult members in her family and she will not need 80 kg of rice every month. “Most of us sell the rice given to us at a price lesser than the market price and use that money to buy other items. The central government should give us money instead of free rice. Whatever the state government gives will suffice,” she said.
“The Congress government in the state does not specifically tell the beneficiaries that five kg of rice is given by the central government. By direct transfer of money to the beneficiaries’ bank accounts, the beneficiaries will know how the central government is also helping them overcome starvation,” said Abhay Managoli of Bagalkot.
Political observers are sceptical about the successful implementation of the guarantees. “The middle class and APL families will be burdened as tax rates and transport costs will go up. Essential commodities will become costly. The government should clarify how it will mobilise resources without burdening the middle class,” said Vishwanath Deshpande from Dharwad.
This article has been republished from The Times of India