New Delhi: On the day Congress president Rahul Gandhi announced his ‘Nyay’ minimum income guarantee scheme promising a monthly income of Rs 12,000 a month for India’s poorest section, union finance minister and senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley hit back at the scheme saying it was 1.5 times less than what BJP government was already paying to the poor and the farmers through various schemes.
Terming the ‘Nyay’ scheme as a sleight of hand (“Cchal Kapat”), Jaitley in a press conference on Monday evening said, “What we are paying to the poor and the farmer today, through 55 different schemes, excluding Rs 75,000 crore through PM-KISAN scheme and Rs 20,000 crore [through Ayushman Bharat also known as ‘Modicare’], is Rs 5.34 lakh crore. So what favour are you doing to the poor by giving them Rs 3.6 lakh crore?”
He added that if one were to add benefits that Indians are receiving through the electrification scheme, through Awaas yojana, and Ujjwala yojana, the amount spent on social welfare would go up to Rs 7 lakh crore.
Jaitley said that the same Congress, which today announced the minimum income guarantee scheme and was proposing to carry out their schemes through Direct Benefit Transfers (DBT), was the same party that opposed Aadhaar scheme through which DBT has been made possible in Parliament as well as in courts.
Jaitley accused the Congress of “repackaging” the schemes that were already being run by the Modi government.
The Finance Minister also hit out at senior Congress leader and former finance minister P Chidambaram, who in a series of tweets had lauded the ‘Nyay’ scheme and said ‘We have consulted economists, this is doable, and we will adhere to fiscal discipline’, saying no blueprints, of how Congress would achieve what it had promised without hurting fiscal targets, had been made available.
Jaitley, hitting out at India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for giving India a mere “3.5% rate of growth which was mocked globally as the Hindu rate of growth”, added that the present Congress dispensation was emulating what former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had promised through her “Garibi Hatao” slogan but never been able to implement.
“For 50 years you have misled nation on poverty. The cross hangs on your neck for letting down poor of this country. We have given the poor the means [to get out of poverty] in form of the houses, the roads, the cooking gas, all of which are evidences [of our commitment to alleviate poverty].”
In his blog, written on the subject minutes before he addressed the press conference, Jaitley had written that, “the UPA Government, between 2004 and 2014, conferred a large number of ‘rights’ without resources to implement them. The legendary bank loan waiver was announced at Rs 70,000 crore – a one-time measure. Of this only Rs 52,000 crore was actually allocated, a significant part of which went to the businessmen of New Delhi (Ref. CAG Report).”
He added that the announcement of minimum income guarantee announced by Rahul Gandhi today, was “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 further added, “Since ‘Garibi Hatao’ slogan was given, has ruled India for more than two-third of that period. If it has failed to even address poverty during this period, why should India believe it?”