BENGALURU: ‘Arogya Karnataka’, the universal healthcare scheme announced by Siddaramaiah in the February budget, was the only big announcement from the previous government that featured prominently in Governor Vajubhai Vala’s speech on Monday.
Addressing the joint session of the state Legislature, Vala said, “My government will roll out Arogya Karnataka fully in 2018,” essentially confirming that Siddaramaiah’s pet announcement will be implemented by the coalition government. The government is still in the process of registering beneficiaries under the scheme that promises cashless treatment to all citizens.
“Siddaramaiah had just two demands to approve the farm loan waiver in the coordination committee: That none of his flagship schemes like Anna Bhagya will face fund cuts and that the government will implement his pet healthcare scheme,” said a source close to Siddaramaiah, while acknowledging that the inclusion of the scheme’s implementation in Vala’s speech was deliberate. While Vala didn’t mention a word on farm loan waiver, an appeal to farmers to refrain from suicides was made.
Vala outlined the aims and policies of the government. The speech, approved by the cabinet, hailed the achievements of the previous government and laid out what this government intends to do. Leader of the Opposition B S Yeddyurappa deemed the speech “a bundle of lies”.
Governor Vala, who had come under severe criticism for giving Yeddyurappa 15 days’ time to form the government, praised the previous Siddaramaiah government and reiterated the current JD(S)-Congress combine government’s commitment to the state’s welfare.
The speech was a roundup of the state’s performance in various sectors so far and future plans. Yeddyurappa, however, claimed that the speech reflected false claims made by the government.
“The Governor’s speech has no mention of the programmes and policies adopted by the previous government and their continuation. Government is silent on its much-publicised promise of farm loan waiver scheme. It says a hundred things about farmers’ welfare and improvement, but there is no concrete policy in the government’s mind,” Yeddyurappa said adding that Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy was perhaps in doubt over the survival of this government.
In a session where Kumaraswamy is all set to table a budget that accommodates his ambitious farm loan waiver, Governor Vala reminded the members that Karnataka is recognised for prudent management of finances. “We are the pioneering state in our country to lay out a fiscal consolidation roadmap to improve finances,” he said.