Pre-poll guarantees similar to White Elephants: MGP
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Pre-poll guarantees similar to White Elephants: MGP

September 8, 2023

MGP meeting debates how five promises made by Congress to grab power is denting State finances

Mysore/Mysuru: With several thousands of crores of rupees being spent on the implementation of five pre-poll guarantees announced by the State Government, namely Shakti, Gruha Jyothi, Anna Bhagya, Gruha Lakshmi and Yuva Nidhi (which is yet to be implemented), along with several other schemes, the tax-payers will face an increasing financial burden in the days ahead.

This consensus emerged during the monthly meeting organised by Mysore Grahakara Parishat (MGP) at Yadavagiri in the city recently. The meeting was attended by former employees of Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL), contractors and MGP members.

Many of the participants opined that all the five guarantees will be scrapped after the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. “The Government will stall all development works to fund the guarantees till the Lok Sabha elections and after the polls, these populist schemes will be shelved as it is unrealistic to continue them. But enough damage would have been done to the State finances till the guarantees are withdrawn” they reasoned.

Despite the present State Government completing 100 days in office, there is no mention of any development projects commencing, not even in the media, during this period. Attendees of the meeting expressed concerns that the State may encounter challenging times in the coming days.

MGP Member Bhamy V. Shenoy stated, “The free schemes promised during the pre-election period will severely impact the State exchequer. While it is known that 200 units of power are being supplied to consumers for free, there are concerns about the quality of power supply to those whose electricity consumption exceeds 200 units.”

An MGP member elaborated on how the revenue and expenditures of Chamundeshwari Electricity Supply Corporation (CESC) and four other Electricity Supply Companies (Escoms) will be adversely affected due to the implementation of free 200 units of power.

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The presentation included a detailed breakdown of expenses, including purchasing power from other States, maintaining coal stock for electricity generation, acquiring raw materials, and covering employee salaries, pensions and other expenses.

The Government’s guarantees are already becoming a part-reality, with the cost of each guarantee running into several thousands of crores of rupees per month. In July, hundreds of crores of rupees were allocated to the Transport Corporations under the Shakti Scheme. The MGP members discussed how these five guarantees could be considered ‘White Elephants’ if continued, as they would significantly impact the State’s fiscal condition and burden tax-payers.

The next step for protest or action should be decided only after evaluating the pros and cons of implementing schemes that involve the public. A suggestion was made during the meeting to submit a report to the Government after studying the impact of these guarantees on tax-payers.

MGP members, including retired KPTCL Engineer Sudheendra, Ashwathnarayan, Ravi Palya, Sridhar, industrialist Sreeshaila Ramannavar and others were present at  the meeting.

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