Budget sop of rice at Rs 2 a kg to take effect this month

The BJP government, to maximise its efforts to create a feel-good factor among people ahead of the Assembly elections, has decided to distribute rice at Rs two a kg for the poor through the public distribution system (PDS) from March itself. The present price is Rs three a kg.

A decision to this effect was taken at the Cabinet meeting on Tuesday. An announcement on government’s intention to reduce the price by a rupee was made by Shettar in the budget presented on February 8.

Providing the highly subsidised rice for 88.5 lakh BPL card holders would leave an additional burden of Rs 13.5 crore on the State’s exchequer per month. Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu have already launched Rs one-a-kg-rice scheme. Political parties usually distribute rice and sarees to the poor assuming that such acts would help in winning their goodwill.

The cabinet also decided to increase the annual maintenance grants for the 37,000 Muzrai temples from Rs 12,000 to Rs 24,000, Primary and Secondary Education Minister Vishweshwara Hegde Kageri told media after the Cabinet meeting.

The Cabinet gave administrative approval to taking up improvement of 3,700 km of state highways at a cost of Rs 1,435 crore. The programme under Karnataka Highway Improvement Project -2 will be split into 70 packages.

Kageri said the the Cabinet decided to allow transportation of sand from Uttara Kannada to Goa and from Udupi and Dakshina Kannada to Lakshwadeep.

In another decision which will benefit 6,500 employees in rural areas, the cabinet decided to hike the honorarium being paid to library supervisors in gram panchayats from Rs 2,500 to Rs 5,500 per annum.

It also decided to accept the report of the Committee for Prevention of Child Marriages headed by Justice Shivaraj V Patil. The committee among others has suggested registration of marriages could be made mandatory.

The committee has also recommended a mandatory three-month imprisonment for those who violate provisions of the Prohibition of Child Marriages Act, 2006. At present, those who are prosecuted under the Act can get away by paying a fine.

No amendment

The State Cabinet on Tuesday is learnt to have deferred taking a decision on amending the Karnataka Land Reforms Act 1961 that proposed to relax the norms on use of agricultural land for non-agricultural purposes, following opposition from some ministers.

According to sources, a section of ministers opposed the proposal stating that it would incur the wrath of farmers.

The Cabinet is learnt to have decided to lease out four acres of land in Dasanapura hobli in Bangalore North taluk to Vivekananda Yuvaka Sangha for a period of 30 years.

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