New Delhi: The Congress has promised to ensure that every family in the country is guaranteed an income of at least Rs 12,000 per month if it is voted to power in the Lok Sabha elections.
Party president Rahul Gandhi made the announcement, of Congress’ minimum income support scheme, at a press conference in New Delhi Monday. He termed it a historic step.
“Gareebi pe ye final assault hai (It is a final assault on removing poverty,” said Gandhi. “We can’t have two Hindustans of the poor and the rich. We will have one Hindustan… In the 21st century, we can’t have poverty in India.”
The minimum income support scheme, being touted as the new version of Indira Gandhi’s ‘Garibi Hatao‘ programme of the 1970s, is estimated to benefit 25 crore people, about one-fifth of the country’s poorest.
The scheme, however, doesn’t mean an additional income of Rs 12,000. If a family is already earning a certain amount, say Rs 5,000 per month, it would get Rs 7,000 as assistance from the government.
As per the Congress party’s calculation, a household earns about Rs 6,000 per month and therefore, the additional government assistance would be of Rs 6,000 — which is Rs 72,000 per annum.
Shortly after Gandhi’s announcement, however, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav took a dig at it.
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“If you are sure about your defeat, you can promise the moon. Who takes it seriously? Already under different schemes poor families get much more support,” he tweeted.
If you are sure about your defeat, you can promise moon. Who takes it seriously? Already under different schemes poor families get much more support. Is it in addition to those schemes or they all will be subsumed in it? https://t.co/dnKI24HvjO
— Chowkidar Ram Madhav (@rammadhavbjp) March 25, 2019
NYAY — the minimum income guarantee scheme
The Congress’ scheme has been named NYAY, the Hindi acronym for the minimum income guarantee scheme.
In his press conference, Gandhi said 20 per cent of the poorest of poor families will benefit from the scheme, which the party estimates equals about 25 crore people from 5 crore families.
Terming it a fiscally prudent scheme, Gandhi said the party had consulted economists across the world.
“The Prime Minister has given Rs 3.5 to poor people but he has no qualms in waiving off loans of those who run planes,” he said.
Gandhi further said that the Congress had helped remove 14 crore people from poverty through MNREGA and added that the current step is an extension of that scheme.
“If PM Modi can give money to rich people we can give money to India’s poor,” he said. “This is a historical step in eradicating poverty from the country.”
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