Hours after Congress president Rahul Gandhi promised a minimum income scheme guaranteeing Rs 72,000 a year to the poor, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Monday criticised the announcement, saying the Congress has a “history of swindling people in name of poverty alleviation” while the Modi-led government has “already given the poor what Congress promises”.
“Today, the Congress president has announced that those whose income is below Rs 12,000 per month would be given a subsidy to ‘attain’ that income subject to Rs 6,000 per month. This announcement is an admission of the fact that neither Indiraji nor her son and certainly not the UPA government controlled by her descendants was able to remove poverty,” Jaitley wrote in a blog posted Monday afternoon.
Recalling the Congress’s past promises including on loan waiver and MGNREGA, Jaitley said: “The latest announcement of the Congress party if tested on simple arithmetic then Rs 72,000 is less than two third of the existing DBT under Modi government, which averages Rs 1.068 lakh annually. So what is being claimed by the Congress party — A bluff announcement,” he said.
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At a press conference later at the BJP headquarters, Jaitley called the promise an “eyewash” and said the Congress is in the habit of “giving promises” to the poor to win elections but has never provided resources for it. “No political party has betrayed India for more than seven decades other than the Congress party. It gave to the people of India many slogans and very little resources to implement them,” he said.
Jaitley said during its rule, the UPA had “conferred a large number of ‘rights’ without resources to implement them”. He alleged the bank loan waiver it had announced in 2008 was Rs 70,000 crore — a one-time measure — but only Rs 52,000 crore was actually allocated, a significant part of which went to businessmen of New Delhi.
Criticising the economic policies of past Congress Prime Ministers, Jaitley said while Jawaharlal Nehru decided to regulate the economy when the world was moving fast, Indira Gandhi’s economic policy was “was not about increasing production and generating wealth, but only about redistribution of poverty”.