Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said that the Congress sop for poor announced by Rahul Gandhi is “a bluff”, while slamming the party for its “history of not doing anything for the poor”.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi hours after Gandhi announced a mega scheme for 20 per cent of India’s poor, Jaitley said that the Congress has only indulged in deception and “handed slogans” to the poor instead of eradicating poverty.
“’Give the poor a slogan, don’t give them a tool’ is the motto of the Congress,” Jaitley said, adding, “Congress has never brought any scheme to eliminate poverty.”
“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. If you think that 20% are still in a category that they don’t have an income of Rs 12,000 per month then the cross hangs on your neck for letting down poor,” Jaitley said citing the long period of Congress rule since Independence.
Jaitley said that both the Nehruvian model of economics and Indira Gandhi’s ‘garibi hatao’ slogan failed to eliminate poverty from India.
“During Pandit-ji’s (Nehru) time, the rate of growth was 3.5 per cent. The world mocked at us and called it a Hindu rate of growth. In 1971, Indira Gandhi won the elections on ‘garibi hatao’ plank but she did not believe in increasing productivity, generation of wealth and its distribution. She only believed in redistributing poverty,” Jaitley said referring to the two former Prime Ministers.
Targeting the former UPA government, Jaitley said that their bank loan waiver was announced at Rs 70,000 crore – a one-time measure – but only Rs 52,000 crore was actually allocated, of which “ a significant part went to the businessmen of New Delhi”.
In a major announcement days before the Lok Sabha elections 2019, Congress president Rahul Gandhi today announced Minimum Income Guarantee scheme called Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) that guarantees minimum financial assistance to the poor.
Addressing a press conference on Monday at New Delhi, the 48-year-old Congress chief said that 25 crore poor people (5 crore families) in the country will get financial assistance of Rs 72,000 per annum if his party is voted to power at the Centre.
This amount, Jaitley said, is less than what is already been given to the poor under the Modi government.
Underlining the support that the Modi government has given to the poor, Jaitley said that the total payment made through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) enabled by Aadhaar by different ministries, including subsidies and payment made under PM KISAN and Ayushman Bharat, comes to Rs 5.34 lakh crore.
“This comes to Rs 1.6 lakh per annum for 20% or 5 crore families,” he said, adding that the amount excludes payments under Ujjwala, gas, electricity and other social schemes.
The FM also accused the Congress of objecting to the Aadhaar in the Supreme Court and trying to block DBT.
Jaitley also said that Congress governments in the states of Punjab, Madhya Pradesh and Karnataka, where it is part of the coalition, have not fulfilled their loan waiver promise.
“Karnataka so far has spent only Rs 2600 crore, Madhya Pradesh Rs 3000 crore and Punjab Rs 5500 crore. The farmers are still waiting,” he said.
According to Gandhi, NYAY is economically feasible. Gandhi said the scheme will supplement income of those earning Rs 12,000 per month.
According to reports, the money will be directly transferred to the bank accounts of 20 per cent of the poorest in the country.