Ex-finance minister P Chidambaram defends Cong's minimum income guarantee poll promise
Chennai, Mar 27 (IBNS): Former Union finance minister and Congress leader P. Chidambaram defended the minimum income guarantee poll promise made by his party president Rahul Gandhi.
Holding a news conference here, Chidambaram said the scheme was expected to cost around Rs 3.6 lakh crore and that it "could not have been implemented 20 years ago and certainly not 40 years ago”.
“It can be implemented only today given the size of Indian economy,” he said in the wake of criticism by the ruling BJP on the scheme.
Rahul Gandhi has called the scheme as "the final assault on poverty".
The BJP said the “garibi hatao” (eradicate poverty) slogan was given by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the grandmother of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, decades ago and the successive Congress governments had evidently not been able to achieve that goal.
Consulted Raghuram Rajan on the scheme: Rahul Gandhi
Justifying his announcement of the Rs 72,000-crore minimum income guarantee scheme for the poorest people in the country, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said he had discussed the same with former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan.
"We consulted all big economists, without telling anyone and without giving any speech. We were engaged in this work for six months. Take the list of all big economists of the world, we consulted them (including) Raghuram Rajan," Gandhi said at an event in Jaipur.
Gandhi said the scheme was not a "free gift" to the poor but "justice".
"They did Demonetisation and Gabbar Singh Tax. We will give NYAY and a real GST. NYAY= Surgical Strike on Poverty = 72,000 Rs a year to India’s poorest 20%," Gandhi tweeted targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government.
Gandhi said his party will implement the scheme if voted to power in the upcoming polls.
What is the scheme?
The scheme, which has been worked out by former Union finance minister P Chidambaram, has marked Rs. 12,000 a month as the "minimum income line".
Any poor but working person, who has an income of less than Rs. 12,000 per month, will be helped by the scheme to touch the "minimum income line". Once the person's income naturally becomes Rs. 12,000 per month, the scheme will automatically cease to work.
What has Rahul Gandhi said about the scheme?
Claiming the scheme as fiscally feasible, Gandhi said: "The scheme will eradicate poverty in the country. This is the final assault on poverty."
Gandhi said the scheme would benefit 25 crore people in the country.
When will the General Election begin?
The first phase of the Lok Sabha election will begin on Apr 11. The election will continue in seven phases till May 19.
The poll results will be declared on May 23.