Bengaluru: With the assembly polls coming near, the ruling government on Friday decided to raise the quantity of free power that is being supplied to families belonging to Scheduled Caste (SC) and Scheduled Tribe (ST) in the below poverty line (BPL) category. The government plans to raise it from the existing 40 units to 75 units per month. The move will help the BJP to strengthen its vote bank among these two communities. These two communities form the largest vote share of around 24 percent of the electorate. The move would cost the state government around Rs. 979 crore per year, reported The Times Of India. Last month, during the 115th birthday celebration of Babu Jagjivan Ram, chief minister Basavaraj Bommai announced that the 40 units per month free power facility will be increased to 75 units per month. The energy department cleared the proposal within less than a month of the announcement and submitted the proposal to the finance department for the final approval, that is headed by the CM himself. According to senior officials in energy department, by May 2022 the decision will come into effect. The SC and ST families that are covered under the Kuteera Jyothi and Bhagya Jyothi schemes are expected to get ‘uninterrupted power’ with the latest decision. V Sunil Kumar, Energy minister said that in Karnataka 1.46 crore domestic consumers consume less than 75 units a month. Out of this, the Kuteera Jyothi and Bhagya Jyothi schemes cover around 39.26 lakh consumers. They consume around 1,35,692 million units annually. A subsidy of Rs. 694.15 crore will be rolled out by energy department for consumers belonging to SC communities and a subsidy of Rs. 285.42 crore will rolled out for ST consumers. Kumar further explained that the department did not want to delay it as it was a welfare scheme. A fresh set of rules has been framed by the communities to avail the scheme. A senior official of the energy department said that metering will be mandatory for these consumers and since the government wanted to implement the scheme retrospectively since May 1, so the beneficiaries should have cleared their electricity bill dues up to April 2022. A copy of the bank passbook has to be submitted by the beneficiaries along with records as subsidy will be credited directly to the account of the beneficiary.