BANGALORE: Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Monday strongly defended his government’s schemes, described by critics as partisan and populist.
He told reporters the poor showing of the Congress in the Lok Sabha elections would not affect the continuance of the schemes.
Some Congress leaders are saying privately the party won just nine of 28 seats because it was trying to please the minorities and the OBCs, thereby alienating other communities.
Releasing a 108-page booklet on one year of his government, he vowed to make Karnataka hunger-free in the remaining four years of his tenure. “We will make it one of the five most developed states in the country,” he said. The glossy booklet is titled Nudidante Nadediddeve (We Have Performed as Promised).
He said he would fulfil all promises made in the Congress manifesto over the next four years. “Of the 160 promises, we have already implemented about 90,” he said.
Listing out his government’s welfare programmes, he suggested those critical of them did not understand the ground realities. “Only the hungry know the value of rice and milk. While rice fills the stomach, milk provides the nutrition essential for schoolchildren,” he said.
Referring to the Akrama-Sakrama scheme, which seeks to regularise municipal by-law violations, he said the rules were being framed and it would be implemented soon.
Siddaramaiah said Krishi Bhagya, another of his government’s welfare schemes, would get an allocation of Rs 500 crore to develop dry land. “We will implement the programme in phases to raise the economic conditions of farmers dependent on rains,” he said.
He said the government would provide laptops for SC/ST students in engineering, medicine, journalism, and post-doctoral courses.
A skills development programme, under the National Urban Livelihood Mission, will be implemented in all towns with a population of over one lakh, he announced. In smaller towns, the Chief Minister’s Urban Poverty Alleviation Programme will be implemented with an initial allocation of `25 crore, Siddaramaiah said.
On resource mobilisation in 2013-14, he said the government had collected `60,652 crore against a target of `62,464 crore, which added up to a healthy 97 per cent of the target.
Replying to a question about the Narendra Modi government at the Centre, Siddaramaiah expressed the confidence that it would extend its co-operation for the state’s development.
He assured Delhi he would reciprocate fully, as was necessary in a federal system. He refused to reply to any questions about other political developments.
What Experts Say
Express asked two social scientists to evaluate Siddaramaiah’s first year in office. They listed his top three successes and failures
R S Deshpande, former director of the Institute for Social and Economic Change
■ Excellent fiscal discipline despite focus on welfare schemes.
■ Welfare schemes for the poor and the minorities.
■ Inter-sectoral growth orientation strong.
■ Bureaucracy controlling science and tech is a disaster.
■ Agriculture taken for granted. Needs greater attention.
■ Good schemes not reaching the intended beneficiaries.
Prof Abdul Azeez, national fellow, Indian Council for Social Science Research
■ Welfare schemes like Anna Bhagya and Ksheera Bhagya.
■ No hiccups or scandals.
■ Creating hope among minorities.
■ Inadequate emphasis on infrastructure and growth.
■ Weak implementation of schemes like RTE.
■ Poor monitoring, tardiness and pilferage in welfare schemes.