To make Karnataka hunger-free and provide food at affordable rates to the labour class and poor migrants, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Tuesday announced that the state government would open Indira canteens across Bengaluru on Wednesday.
“I am happy to announce that we are opening on Wednesday Indira canteens across Bengaluru to feed every day the people from the labour class and poor migrants to the city,” he said in his Independence Day speech here.
In the initial phase, 101 canteens will daily serve vegetarian tiffin (breakfast) at Rs 5 per plate and meals for lunch and dinner at Rs 10 each in 101 civic wards. More will be opened in the remaining 97 wards from October 2 to mark the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.
“We will also open similar canteens in other cities and towns across the state after studying their pros and cons and its benefit to the poor people in the city,” he said.
The Chief Minister, who also holds the finance portfolio, provided Rs 100 crore in the state budget for this fiscal (2017-18) to run the canteens in all the 198 civic wards on the lines of the popular “Amma” canteens in neighbouring Tamil Nadu.
“As hunger-free Karnataka is our motto, 4 crore people are provided free 7 kg of rice for every below the poverty line (BPL) beneficiary every month across the state under our flagship ‘Anna Bhagya Yojana’ so that each of them has two meals daily.”
Addressing a gathering of about 8,000 people at the Field Marshal Manekshaw parade ground, Siddaramaiah said pulses (tur dal) was also being supplied at a subsidised rate.
The efficacy of the Anna Bhagya Yojana is evident by the fact that despite the southern state reeling under drought over the last four years, no death occurred due to hunger and migration of labour as none of them went to sleep on an empty stomach.
“As our hearts beat for lactating mothers and pregnant women, we serve them mid-day meals daily free under the Mathru Poorna Yojana. It (scheme) will be extended to all child care centres (anganwadis) across the state from October 2 to cover 12 lakh of them,” said Siddaramaiah.
Similarly, 1.08 crore school children are served free mid-day meals daily, with milk for five days a week and eggs twice a week to ensure their nutritional needs.
“Besides implementing the Right to Education Act to provide education for all children, we have given free text books to 62.50 lakh students, free uniform, shoes and socks to 47.5 lakh students, bicycles to five lakh boys and girls.”
“Under the Kaushalya Karnataka Scheme, we propose to train five lakh youths with skills for employment. We are also providing free laptops to 1.5 lakh students pursuing medical, engineering, polytechnic courses to draw them to IT-based education,” added Siddaramaiah.