Rahul Gandhi: Minimum income scheme is Congress surgical strike on povertyhttps://indianexpress.com/elections/rahul-gandhi-minimum-income-scheme-is-congress-surgical-strike-on-poverty-lok-sabha-elections-5644357/

Rahul Gandhi: Minimum income scheme is Congress surgical strike on poverty

He reiterated that once the Congress assumes power at the Centre, the “minimum income line” would be Rs 12,000 per month.

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Rahul Gandhi welcomes former BJP leader Ghanshyam Tiwari to the Congress fold, at a booth workers’ meeting in Jaipur on Tuesday. (Express photo by Rohit Jain Paras)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that the party’s promised NYAY (Nyuntam Aay Yojana) scheme to guarantee minimum income is a “surgical strike” against poverty.

Addressing a rally in Ganganagar, Rahul said, “For the last five years, Narendra Modiji has been trying to make two Indias. One of the rich, of private airplanes, of people like Anil Ambani, and second of farmers, small traders and the unemployed. In Modi’s Hindustan, only the rich can dream.”

He said that the UPA government’s MGNREGA, Right to Food and farm debt waiver brought 14 crore people out of poverty but in the last five years, the Modi government has enacted policies such as demonetisation, though which people brought out of poverty by the Congress have been pushed back again. Follow more election news here.

“For months, we had been discussing what to do about it. We had been planning and wanted to find a way to pull people out of poverty. And it is shameful for the entire country that 25 crore people are still in poverty in the 21st century. So, we had been working for six months on how to wage a war on poverty and remove poverty from India. So we decided that if Narendra Modiji gives money to the rich, then the Congress party will give money to the poor,” he said.

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He reiterated that once the Congress assumes power at the Centre, the “minimum income line” would be Rs 12,000 per month. “Whoever is below this line will be given the money to bring his minimum wage to Rs 12,000,” he said.

“The poorest 20 per cent — achhi tarah suniye, dhamaka hai ye, bam phatega (listen to it carefully, it’s a blast, the bomb will blast) — of Hindustan will get Rs 72,000 in their account by the Congress government annually. Meaning, Congress’s surgical strike on poverty. We will eradicate poverty from Hindustan. They worked towards eradicating the poor, while we will work to eradicate poverty,” Rahul said, adding that this would translate into Rs 3.60 lakh for a family over five years. No nation has taken such a step in history, he said.

Explained: Can Rahul Gandhi’s basic income scheme be a game changer?

At the second rally in Bundi, he likened NYAY to White Revolution and Green Revolution. He said that the Congress has in the past launched schemes like MGNREGA, which helped the Indian economy “but PM Modi only made fun of it in Parliament”. Explaining the rationale, he said that MGNREGA put money in the pockets of the poor, which then led to a rise in demand, and thus gave rise to employment.

In Ganganagar, he also said that the 2019 elections are an ideological fight, with division and hatred on one side and brotherhood and love on the other.

Read | Bluff… Cong has history of swindling people in name of poverty alleviation, says Jaitley

Attacking Modi, he said, “He says he is a chowkidar, but didn’t tell you whose chowkidar. Does a farmer have a chowkidar? Have you ever seen a chowkidar at a farmer’s home? Or at an unemployed person’s house? Now, have you seen a chowkidar at Anil Ambani’s home? How many chowkidars does he have at his home?…. Narendra Modi did not tell you that he is not your chowkidar, but of people such as Anil Ambani and Nirav Modi.”

In Bundi, he said that there have been wars with Pakistan before but all Prime Ministers have given credit to the Army while “Narendra Modi ji says that he did it”.

Rahul addressed the last rally of the day in Jaipur, where 12 independent MLAs joined the Congress party.

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Rahul said that Modi made “hollow” promises such as giving Rs 15 lakh in each bank account. “We said that the idea to credit money in bank accounts is right, but he lied about Rs 15 lakh… It took six months, we consulted all top economists without telling anyone or giving speeches… take the list of top economists in the world, we spoke with all of them, Raghuram Rajan, one by one we spoke with all and told them we liked the idea and want to fulfill it. We came to know that we will have to make a minimum income line, and after calculation we got the minimum income line number: Rs 12,000 per month.