Congress chief Rahul Gandhi’s promise of giving Rs 72,000 per year to the most deprived families will only increase the fiscal deficit and might have an adverse effect on the economy, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Rajiv Kumar said on Monday.
Minutes after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley slammed the Congress for what he termed as a “bluff announcement”, Kumar said that the grand old party was ready to “say and do anything to win elections”.
“It’s an old pattern followed by Congress. They say and do anything to win elections. Poverty was removed in 1966. One Rank One Pension was later implemented and everyone was given proper education under the Right to Education Act. So you see, they (Congress) can say and do anything,” the NITI Aayog official was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
The economist added, “In 2008, P Chidambaram had increased the fiscal deficit from 2.5% to 6%. It’s the next step in that pattern. Rahul Gandhi today made the announcement without thinking about its impact on the economy.”
Speaking on the repercussions of the decision, Kumar said, “I think the fiscal deficit may increase from 3.5% to 6%. All the credit rating agencies may bring down our ratings. We may not get loans from outside and eventually, our investments might be blocked.”
Earlier in the day, Gandhi had announced that 20 per cent families belonging to the poorest category will be given Rs 72,000 each annually under the minimum income guarantee scheme if his party comes to power.
Taking a swipe at the grand old party’s poll promise, Jaitley claimed that Rs 72,000 for five crore families would prove to be “less than two-thirds” of what is being provided by the present Narendra Modi-led government.