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Jul 10, 2013 at 08:14pm IST

'Anna Bhagya' scheme launched; set to drain state budget with Rs 4,000 cr

Bangalore: Two months into power, the Congress kept its poll sop with Chief Minister Siddaramaiah launching the Anna Bhagya scheme. Although, the scheme is costing the government over rupees 4,000 crore, the government is already thinking of adding variety to its free meals.

"Though we are giving out rice, there is scope to give so many other things like maybe what is grown within Karnataka like ragi, and jowar and dal and then supply it as that also helps in nutritional factors," said Dinesh Gundurao, Food and Civil Supplies minister.

Interestingly, the populist scheme has come just days after the Supreme Court asked political parties to stop election freebies.

The anna bhagya scheme has come under criticism not just for being a major drain on the finances of the state, but also because it doesn't really add value to life - in that it doesn't help in enabling jobs or developing skills but these claims have been rubbised by the congress government.

"It's not about how much it costs, but about feeding the poor... we want to guarantee at least two meals a day," said chief minister Siddaramaiah.

Obviously, the Congress hopes to gain from rice politics in the Lok Sabha elections next year too.