The newly elected Congress government in Karnataka has directed heads of various departments in the state to immediately halt all development projects initiated by the previous BJP government and withhold the release of funds for the work executed with immediate effect.
A circular to this effect was issued on Monday (22 May) by the state finance secretary to the secretaries, additional secretaries and other officers of all government departments, boards and corporations.
The circular has also explicitly asked the department and other government bodies to stop the release of funds or payment of bills towards the works taken by all the departments, boards, corporations, and various authorities as per the instructions of the previous dispensation.
The impact of the order on various infrastructure projects in Bengaluru, including the metro rail and suburban rail initiated by the previous government, remains to be seen.
While the ruling party is attempting to portray the move as part of its promise to investigative the alleged misdeeds of the previous government, the 'stop work, stop payment,' circular is likely to be a fiscal step aimed at funding the freebies that are believed to have a played a significant role in shaping the outcome of the recent assembly elections.
The government's first Cabinet meeting held last Saturday accorded in-principle approval to the five guarantees announced by the Congress during the campaign ahead of the 10 May Assembly elections.
The implementation of the schemes is provisionally estimated to cost Rs 50,000 crore a year, CM Siddaramaiah has claimed. He expressed confidence the state would be able to generate the resources to cover the cost.
The five guarantees by the Congress as part of its manifesto include the provision of 200 units of free power to every household, Rs 2,000 per month allowance to the women head of families, Rs 3,000 for graduates unemployed for up to two years after graduation and Rs 1,500 for unemployed diploma holders, 10 kg of free rice to all members of BPL homes, and free bus travel for women.
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