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BJP Leaders Share Misleading Claim on Karnataka Vehicle Subsidy for Minorities

The scheme is applicable to all religious minorities in Karnataka and reportedly includes the SC and ST communities.

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A photo of a newspaper clipping about an automobile subsidy scheme by the government of Karnataka has gone viral on social media.

What does the claim say?: The clipping is being shared to claim that the Indian National Congress (INC)-led Karnataka government is providing a subsidy on goods vehicles, autorickshaws and taxis, only to the Muslim community in the state.

  • Some users have shared the clipping to claim appeasement by the state's government, mentioning that only Muslims can benefit from the scheme. They also highlight how the scheme can be misused for financial gain.

Who shared the claim?: Among those sharing it were Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Tejasvi Surya and Minister of State for Electronics and Information Technology of India Rajeev Chandrasekhar.

(Swipe right to view both claims)

  • MoS for Electronics and IT Rajeev Chandrasekhar shared the clipping, calling out appeasement politics.

    (Source: X/Screenshot)

The Quint received a query for this claim's verification on its WhatsApp tipline.

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The claim is viral on Facebook.

Is the claim true?: No, the scheme subsidises taxis, goods vehicles and autorickshaws for people belonging to all religious minorities, such as the Sikh, Muslim, Christian, Parsi, Jain, and Buddhist communities.

  • Moreover, a similar scheme was also available for minorities under the state's former BJP government.

How did we find out?: Using relevant keywords, we looked for more information on the scheme.

  • This led us to a scheme called the 'Swavalambi Sarathi Scheme' on the Karnataka Minorities Development Corporation's website, for subsidies on the purchase of taxis, goods vehicles and passenger auto rickshaws.

The scheme is applicable to all religious minorities in Karnataka and reportedly includes the SC and ST communities.

The scheme is meant for people belonging to all religious minorities in Karnataka.

(Source: KDMC/Screenshot)

Here, the guidelines mentioned that the approved beneficiaries of the scheme would be able to get a subsidy of 50 percent of the vehicle's value, or a "maximum subsidy of Rs 3.00 lakhs (sic)."

  • It clearly stated that in order to be able to avail the scheme, the applicant must belong to Karnataka's State Religious Minority Community, which includes the Muslim, Christian, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh and Parsi communities.

  • Additionally, the scheme was mentioned in the Siddaramaiah-led Karnataka government's budget.

  • Here, the report mentioned that the scheme was also applicable for people belonging to Scheduled Castes (SC) and Scheduled Tribes (ST) communities.

  • Moreover, under the 'Airavatha Scheme', the government has a similar subsidy for "rural youth from SC/ST communities" amounting to five lakh rupees to facilitate self-employment as taxi transport ventures.

The scheme is applicable to all religious minorities in Karnataka and reportedly includes the SC and ST communities.

The Airavatha Scheme provides similar benefits to rural youth from Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

(Source: ADCL Karnataka/Screenshot)

  • This subsidy was offered to individuals purchasing light motor vehicles to generate revenue for the beneficiary while reducing the burden of monthly payment instalments.

Is this the first scheme of this kind in Karnataka?: No. The BJP-led government in Karnataka had a similar scheme which subsidised the same set of vehicles for people from minority communities in the state.

  • We came across a similar scheme as mentioned on the Karnataka State Minority Commission's website for the fiscal year 2021-2022, which is now an inactive scheme.

The scheme is applicable to all religious minorities in Karnataka and reportedly includes the SC and ST communities.

The scheme, as under the state's BJP government is now inactive.

(Source: KARMIN/Altered by The Quint)

  • During former Karnataka CM Basavaraj Bommai's tenure, this subsidy scheme provided a subsidy of Rs 75,000 for the purchase of new goods and passenger auto rickshaws along with subsidies for the purchase of taxis.

  • To be eligible for the scheme, one had to belomg to a religious minority in Karnataka and neither the applicant nor their family should have received any government subsidy to purchase similar vehicles in the past five years.

  • We also came across details about the budget for the scheme as well as the number of vehicles allocated during 2021-22 in Bengaluru.

  • As per this document, the state government had provided subsidies for 1,333 vehicles, amounting to 10 crore rupees.

The scheme is applicable to all religious minorities in Karnataka and reportedly includes the SC and ST communities.

The document we found showed details related to the scheme in Bengaluru.

(Source: KARMIN/Altered by The Quint)

The department's verified X (formerly Twitter) account had responded to user queries regarding the subsidy in 2022, before the current Congress government came into power.

Conclusion: The Karnataka government's subsidy scheme for certain vehicles is applicable to all religious minorities in the state, not only for people from the Muslim community. Additionally, the former Bommai-led BJP government had a similar scheme.

(With inputs from Abhilash Mallick and Karan HM.)

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