Congress's Election Strategy in Rajasthan: A Closer Look at Massive Welfare Schemes Amid Rising Debt
Congress's Election Strategy in Rajasthan: Rajasthan is set to have state assembly elections at the end of this year. Political parties are going all out to reach the pinnacle of power.
While the Rajasthan government is making one announcement after another, the BJP is also leaving no stone unturned to woo voters.
The question remains: where will the money come from to fulfill these schemes, and how will the government manage to repay the debt if it decides to take loans?
To entice voters before the elections, the state government is allocating funds for various schemes.
In Rajasthan, from April to August of this year, the government has already taken loans worth 12,288 crores, and it plans to take an additional 14,000 crores from October to December.
According to the RBI report, Rajasthan's debt has increased to 5,37,013 crores during 2022-23, compared to 4,58,089 crores a year ago.
The Rajasthan government is also entering the bond market. After Punjab, this state has the highest debt burden in the country, and the pressure is on due to election announcements.
Where is the Money being Spent?
1. The Chief Minister Annapurna Food Packet Scheme aims to benefit nearly 1.10 crore people under the National Food Security Act (NFSA).
This scheme provides beneficiaries with a sealed packet containing 1 kg of pulses, 1 kg of sugar, 1 kg of salt, 100 grams of chili powder, 100 grams of coriander powder, and 50 grams of turmeric powder, along with 1 litre of refined oil.
The government will spend 4,500 crores annually on this scheme.
2. Under the Chief Minister Digital Services Scheme 2023, free smartphones will be provided to 1 crore 35 lakh women.
The smartphones will come with 3 years of free data and calling services.
This scheme is being implemented by the state government, and the budget allocated is 1,200 crores.
3. The Congress government in Rajasthan has announced free electricity of 100 units per month to every household from June 1st, following the budget declaration.
This scheme puts an annual burden of 7,000 crores on the state treasury.
4. The Rajasthan government has also announced an increase in the old-age pension for senior citizens this year. There will be a 15% annual increment in the pension, resulting in an additional expense of 12,000 crores annually, with the central government contributing around 367 crores.
5. This year, the Rajasthan government has announced that it will cover 76 lakh families under the Ujjwala scheme and provide a subsidy of 500 rupees per LPG cylinder to consumers.
This is expected to add an estimated annual burden of 750 crores on the government.
While on one hand, senior BJP legislator Narpat Singh Rajvi has stated that Rajasthan is trapped in the web of debt, and its impact will ultimately fall on the poor.
On the other hand, Rajasthan government minister Pratap Singh has said that we not only take loans but also repay them.