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Nyay Scheme Only ‘on Paper’, Cong Will Struggle to Execute It, Says Bihar CM Nitish Kumar

Nitish Kumar urged the Congress to get first-hand experience of executing such a scheme at the state level before attempting to implement it nationwide.


Updated:April 3, 2019, 8:48 PM IST
Nyay Scheme Only ‘on Paper’, Cong Will Struggle to Execute It, Says Bihar CM Nitish Kumar
File photo of Bihar CM Nitish Kumar.

New Delhi: Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar took a disparaging view of Congress’s poll promise of minimum income guarantee for the poorest sections of the populace and said the scheme was “only on paper” and the party would struggle to execute it.

Taking a shot at the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (Nyay) scheme that promises to pay Rs 6,000 a month to the poorest five crore families in India, Kumar, in an exclusive interview with News18, said the scheme was “just an announcement” and did not yet exist.

“There is no actual data on who is earning what and how much, there are no real statistics of that. There is no survey. There is not even an authentic figure available, it is just an assessment,” said the Janata Dal (United) chief.

Kumar, whose party is a crucial BJP ally in Bihar, said the Congress had not yet identified the beneficiaries of the direct income transfer scheme. “The people aren’t there. Who will you give this money?”

Kumar also claimed NYAY scheme was susceptible to corruption and some people could take undue advantage of it. “When you will start giving money, suppose then the one who is the poorest will not receive the money, the one above him will bribe and take that money. That is why when you think about a scheme, you must think of the execution. Whenever we think of a scheme, we first think of the execution,” he said.

The Bihar chief minister, who gave his first exclusive interview in four years, maintained that Congress president Rahul Gandhi should first test the feasibility of such a scheme. “The money will not reach the right group of people. Before talking of such a scheme, see if it is actually possible or not. Rahulji has not become the PM yet. I heard that Manmohan Singh wanted to execute this too, but it didn’t happen,” he said.

The JD(U) chief was part of the original ‘mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) between his party and Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Rashtriya Janata Dal ahead of the Bihar Assembly polls in 2015. Despite a strong Modi wave on the back of the BJP’s thumping win in the 2014 general elections, the Nitish-Lalu duo had comprehensively won a majority in Bihar. Kumar later pulled out of the alliance in 2017 and jumped ship to the BJP. As part of the NDA alliance, Kumar’s JD(U) is now up against the new ‘mahagathbandhan’ of the Congress, Lalu Prasad’s RJD, Upendra Kushwaha’s RSLP, Jitan Ram Manjhi’s HAM, and Mukesh Sahni’s VIP.

Kumar said the Congress should get first-hand experience of executing such a scheme at the state level, and claimed it lacked the experience to pull it off.

“Actual execution happens in the state government and you should experience that. Once you have experience of execution here, then only you will be able to do something at the Centre. They don’t have experience in executing such schemes. The people will give them responsibility, they will fail to deliver and then what will happen?” Kumar asked, adding, “Remember that the people of the country keep an eye on these things. That is why I don’t think there is any danger to Modi.”

Former Reserve Bank of India governor Raghuram Rajan has called the Nyay scheme “doable” and said the Congress had consulted him about it. Kumar, reacting to Rajan’s involvement, said, “I know him very well and it does not matter whose advisor he is, or what scheme they have discussed or not. I am not concerned about that.”

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