Days after announcing that the Congress would roll out a minimum income scheme guaranteeing Rs 72,000 a year to the bottom most or poorest 20 per cent of households if voted to power, party president Rahul Gandhi Thursday said the Nyunatam Aay Yojana (Nyay) scheme will “remonetise” the economy that has been “demonetised” by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
In an exclusive interview to PTI ahead of the Lok Sabha elections, the Congress chief insisted that the Nyay scheme will achieve twin objectives of giving money to 20 per cent poorest families as well as firing up the economy. “The aim of the ‘Nyay’ scheme is two-fold. First is to guarantee a minimum income to the bottom 20 per cent families. The second is to remonetise the economy that has been demonetised by Modiji,” Gandhi told PTI. Click here for more election stories
VIDEO | Rahul Gandhi: 25 crore poor people to get Rs 72,000 per year
Claiming that the Congress’ anti-poverty programme has left the ruling BJP in total disarray, Gandhi took potshots at PM Modi for announcing the demonetisation of high value currency notes in a surprise move in November 2016. He further said the scheme will not be implemented “rashly like demonetization and GST of the BJP”.
“We’re not rash. We don’t take steps like demonetisation and GST without consultations, without conferring with the experts. We have vetted this, tested this, and fiscally ‘Nyay’ as a scheme is completely doable,” he said, pointing out that ‘Nyay’ will first be tested through a pilot to “smoothen out any flaws”.
He also sought to allay apprehensions raised by some economists that ‘Nyay’, which entails an expenditure of Rs 3.6 lakh crore annually, could aggravate India’s fiscal deficit position. He said the Congress has consulted a large number of economists and experts, studied numerous papers and other research material on this subject and run an extensive financial modelling exercise before deciding to include the plan in its Lok Sabha manifesto.
When asked if the scheme was populist, Gandhi said, “it is not a populist measure as projected by some critics”. “If giving out Rs 3.5 lakh crore to 15 people by Narendra Modi is not considered populist, why should this be as it is aimed at benefitting the poor,” he continued.
“Is it only the crony capitalist friends of Mr Modi who are to benefit from government schemes? I’m only asking for fairness, for justice, or ‘nyay’ for India’s poor. There’s nothing populist about that,” he said.
With PTI inputs
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