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Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme Will Not Replace Existing Subsidies, Says Chidambaram

On how the Congress would identify beneficiary families, Chidambaram said there was enough data available gathered by state governments through crop insurance scheme and others like it.


Updated:March 27, 2019, 4:43 PM IST
Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme Will Not Replace Existing Subsidies, Says Chidambaram
File photo of Congress senior leader P Chidambaram (Image: PTI)

New Delhi: Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday hit out at the ruling BJP, saying the party will be remembered for broken promises made to the people.

Addressing a press conference to explain the salient features of the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY), he hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and accused the ruling party of lying on growth statistics.

"By implementing the Goods and Services Tax, he (Narendra Modi) destroyed the micro, small and medium enterprises in the country. When people think of BJP, what comes to mind is that they shook statistics to show that they have produced growth," he alleged.

Continuing his tirade against the BJP, the former Union minister said, "The BJP will be remembered for its broken promises. The promise of depositing Rs 15 lakh into bank accounts, doubling of farmers income, demonetisation and a flawed GST. If we say BJP, these four come to the mind of people."

He also took a dig at Modi and said there was no Modi government at the Centre and only Modi in New Delhi. "If you believe there is a cabinet. If you believe there is a government, you are completely wrong. Come and stay in (New) Delhi for seven days. You will know that there is one person who is the government. That is Mr Modi," he said.

Referring to the BJP's announcement of doubling of farmers income, he sought to know why nobody asked the Prime Minister as to which consultant was approached before launching the scheme.

"Let me tell you a figure, in 2014, there were 100 crore bank accounts. Rs 15 lakh depositing into 100 crore bank accounts will be Rs 1,500 lakh crore. After he became Prime Minister, he talked about doubling of farmers income. His term as PM is going to end in May.”

"Nobody even now is asking him whether he has doubled the farmers income. Where is the math to double the farm income? What is the calculation?" the senior Congress leader said.

Chidambaram, hitting out at Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, said when the Congress party announced the 100 day job scheme, he said it was not possible.

"But he (Arun Jaitley) forgot to inform Modi that it was not possible to double farmers income," he said.

Responding to a query on how the Congress would identify the five crore families under the NYAY scheme, he said, "There was enough data available gathered by state governments through crop insurance scheme and others."

Asked whether the existing subsidies rolled out by the central and state governments will be removed, Chidambaram said, "It will not. There are some subsidies which are designed to address specific objectives."

"Let me make it absolutely clear, subsidies which are granted to address specific social economic objectives will not be affected (by implementing the NYAY scheme)," he said.

To a query on challenges ahead in implementing the scheme if the Congress is voted to power in the coming Lok Sabha elections, he said, "There will be design challenges, there will be administrative challenges. But we are confident that just as we rolled out MGNREGA, we will overcome those challenges."

"Mr Narendra Modi criticised MGNREGA. But today, he accepts that the scheme is benefitting the poor. We are aware of the challenges. We accept the challenges. We will overcome those challenges", he added.

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, 2005 guarantees 100 days of employment in a financial year to rural households.

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