Misleading: The Karnataka government announced free power supply up to 75 units for rural SC/ST families in the 2023 state budget.

By: Ankita Kulkarni
March 1 2023

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Misleading: The Karnataka government announced free power supply up to 75 units for rural SC/ST families in the 2023 state budget.


The Verdict Misleading

This scheme is not new and has been operational since 2017. The number of free units was increased from 40 to 75 in May 2022.

Claim ID 2a769573


On February 17, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai presented the state budget for 2023-2024. It was remarked as "little something for everyone" by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), while opposition party Congress alleged that the government had cheated people by not fulfilling its promises from the previous budget. Following this, several posts on social media have questioned the budget, which has garnered more traction ahead of the upcoming assembly elections. 

One such post on Twitter states, "BJP Karnataka Budget 2023: CM (Chief Minister) announces free electricity to SC-ST (Scheduled Caste-Scheduled Tribe) community only. BPL (Below poverty line) card holders belonging to mentioned categories to get 75 units of free electricity/month. Sabka Sath Sabka Vikas!” The post has 113,900 views.

In Fact

A Times of India report published on May 28 last year noted that the Karntaka government announced free electricity for up to 75 units every month to all rural SC/ST families living below the poverty line in the state. Earlier, 40 units were given under the Bhagya Jyoti or Kuteera Jyoti Yojana schemes. According to the scheme, the beneficiaries will pay the monthly electricity bill, and the government will reimburse the cost of 75 units as a subsidy through direct benefit transfer. The report added that the beneficiaries must submit their BPL ration cards, Aadhaar cards, residence/domicile number, and caste certificates to the supply companies. The report also added that the revised scheme was effective from May 1, 2022. 

Deccan Herald article dating May 13, 2022, also confirmed the same, stating that the yojanas or schemes have been operational since 2017, and the number of free units was increased in 2022. 

We also found a post on the official Twitter account of the Karnataka Chief Minister that dates back to December 2017 and notes, "Bhagya Jyothi and Kuteera Jyothi were introduced to provide electricity to the socially and economically backward households." In 2017, the Congress led the state government, with Siddaramaiah as the Chief Minister. 

The "Bhagya Jyothi" scheme was introduced to the state in 1979. According to a government document, the objective was to provide one bulb connection to houses belonging to SC/ST communities and other weaker sections.

Logically also looked into the highlights of the 2023 state budget and found no new iterations regarding the schemes. Although Bommai did talk about the provisions during the 2023 budget, he noted that they were only extended to reach more people. 

This clarifies that schemes were not exclusively announced during the Karnataka budget 2023, as claimed in the viral post. The schemes have been in place since 2017, when they were vowed to be restored by Siddaramaiah in 2013, according to an NDTV report. 

The Verdict

The scheme granting free electricity supply of 75 units to SC/ST families has been operational since 2017 and was upgraded in 2022, before the 2023 state budget. Therefore, we have marked the claim as misleading.

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