Congress comes up with Nyay for poor

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on March 26, 2019

Congress President Rahul Gandhi (file photo)

Promises minimum income of ₹ 72,000 a year


The Congress on Monday announced the basic structure of a minimum income guarantee scheme, which according to the party is going to be a final assault on poverty. Termed as Nyay (justice), the scheme offers ₹12,000 per month for a family (upto ₹72,000 per year) as basic income.

Announcing that the scheme will be a major ingredient of the Congress’s manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls, party president Rahul Gandhi said the poor in the country had to face a number of difficulties in the last five years and the Nyay will provide justice for the poor. He said 25 crore people — or five crore families — will get the benefit of the proposed scheme.

The Congress Working Committee that met here on Monday gave final shape for the proposal, mooted by the manifesto drafting committee of the AICC chaired by former finance minister P Chidambaram. Gandhi claimed that such a scheme would be first of its kind in the entire world and said a Congress government at the Centre will ensure that ₹72,000 will be deposited every year directly into the accounts of the 20 per cent of the poorest people cutting across religions, castes as languages. “If Narendra Modi can give money to the richest people in the Congress can give money to the poorest of the poorest in the country,” Gandhi told reporters after the CWC meeting.

Farm-loan waivers

He added that the promise of waiving off farmers’ loans was implemented within ten days of coming into power in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. “The scheme will be implemented in phases. A pilot project will be initiated first and the scheme will be followed after that. “The entire calculations have been done. The fiscal repercussions of this have been analysed. This money is perfectly available. This scheme is perfectly doable. We are going to deliver this scheme,” Gandhi claimed.

He said the Centre’s offer for a minimum income for farmers was to divert people’s attention. “Farmers are given ₹3.5 per day and people who have private jets have been given lakhs of crores of rupees,” he said.

Direct benefit transfer

Explaining the scheme, Gandhi said every family with an income below ₹12,000 will get the benefits of the scheme so that they get at least ₹12,000 per month. “The government will provide whatever be the difference as direct benefit transfer so that their income reaches ₹12,000. If a family’s income is ₹6,000, the government will provide ₹6,000 as DBT so that their income reaches ₹12,000,” he said, adding that the income transfer will continue till the family becomes financially stable. “This will be a fiscally prudent scheme,” he said, adding that the scheme will stop on its own once the family comes out of poverty.

He said the “ground breaking idea” will be the final assault on poverty. “It is an extremely powerful, extremely dynamic and extremely well thought idea. We have done all the calculations, we have asked the best economists, they have all backed our idea, and we are going to implement this idea,” he said.

Later, P Chidambaram said in Twitter that under Nyay, the poorest 20 per cent of families will get a uniform amount of ₹72,000 per year. “In other words, every family in the poorest 20 per cent will be given an income support of ₹ 6000 a month,” he added.

Published on March 25, 2019

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