New Delhi: Union Finance Minister, a prolific blogger who has regularly been penning his thoughts lately, took on the Congress over its poll promise of providing 20% of the poorest Rs 72,000 per year if it was voted to power. (Catch LIVE Updates of Lok Sabha Elections 2019 Here) Also Read - Mamata Banerjee Urges EC To Merge Remaining Phases of Bengal Polls Into One Amid COVID Cases Surge
In his post titled, ‘Is Prime Minister Narendra Modi Already Giving to Poor Much More Than What the Congress Promises?’ Jaitley says, “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.” Also Read - Karnataka Makes RT-PCR Test Mandatory For Kumbh Mela Returnees As COVID Cases Rise in State
Starting from first prime minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, Jaitley goes on to say that “Indiraji understood slogans better than economics.” He adds that Indira gave the slogan of ‘Garibi Hatao’ but her economics was not about generating wealth, it was about ” redistribution of poverty”. Also Read - No Plans To Club Remaining West Bengal Poll Phases into One, Says Election Commission
Being a little kinder to Rajiv Gandhi, Jaitley says the former showed some interest in alleviating poverty but his government “got caught in unsavoury controversies”.
He adds that the UPA Government didn’t fare any better.
Moving onto Congress President Rahul Gandhi’s announcement earlier in the day, Jaitley says, “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. The Congress in general and the Gandhi family in particular, 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?”
Jaitley says that the Congress’ loan waiver is a ‘bluff’ and that “the farmers are still waiting”. Attacking the opposition for its sabotage of government’s ‘pro-poor initiatives”, Jaitley says, “If the Congress Party and its friends have so much concern for the poor in India, why is it that its States are going slow in certifying the list of small and marginal farmers who are entitled to receiving the instalment of PM KISAN? Why are some of the States such as West Bengal, Odisha and Delhi, amongst others, not implementing the Ayushman Bharat?”
Meanwhile in the past five years, “Besides subsidies for food, fertilizer, kerosene, 55 Ministries handed over subsidies to the poor through the DBT which was enabled by AADHAAR,” he says.
Giving simple mathematics as to how much money has been spent in benefits like food subsidy, PM Kisan and Ayushman Bharat, Jaitley says that the Congress’ promise of Rs 72,000 per annum to five crore families adds up to Rs 3.6 lakh crore, Jaitley signs off by saying that the amount is 2/3rds of what is already being spent by the current Government. “Bluff announcement,” Jaitley calls it.