New Delhi: The Congress party on Monday upped the ante ahead of the Lok Sabha elections 2019 by promising Rs 72,000 each year to 20 per cent of the poorest families, under the new minimum income guarantee scheme “Nyay“- if voted to power.

Speaking at a media briefing in the national capital, party president Rahul Gandhi said, “Congress guarantees that 20 per cent of the poorest families make at least Rs 72,000 every year… The amount will be transferred directly to the accounts… We are going to give you justice”. Announcing the details of ‘Nyay’, Gandhi said the scheme will benefit five crore families and 25 crore individuals directly.

He added that the scheme was “unprecedented in the world”. “Nyay” (the minimum income scheme) will be the Congress’ major poll promise ahead of the Lok Sabha elections and Rahul termed it as “a final assault on poverty”.

Explaining it further, Rahul added that all calculations had been done duly and subsequently clarified that the scheme will supplement the income of those who earn less than Rs 12,000 per month. “The minimum income line is Rs 12,000 per month. Whatever the difference — say the income is Rs 6,000 — we will top it up. Those who earn less than Rs 12,000, we will take their earnings to Rs 12,000,” he said.

According to reports, ‘Nyay’ scheme will be implemented in phases, starting with a pilot project.

FEATHERS RUFFLED

Senior BJP leader Ram Madhav was one of the first leaders to attack the Grand Old Party and tweeted, “If you are sure about your defeat, you can promise moon. Who takes it seriously? Already under different schemes poor families get much more support. Is it in addition to those schemes or they all will be subsumed in it?”

Then came the national in-charge of BJP IT cell Amit Malviya’s tweet that quoted a Washington Post news report and read, “India had 124 Mn poor in 2016, which is down to 65 Mn in 2019. It is estimated that number of poor will be down to 15 Mn by 2022. We pulled out 44 people from poverty every minute!”

Soon after Union finance minister Arun Jaitley published a blog post titled, ‘Is Prime Minister Narendra Modi Already Giving to Poor Much More Than What the Congress Promises?

Starting off on a fiery note, the finance minister wrote, “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.”

Jaitley then dealt severe blows to the Congress party by affirming that the decision to rollout ‘Nyay’ was proof 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?”

To read his post click here.

Furthering his attack, Jaitley then listed the ‘failed promises of farm loan waivers’ in various Congress-ruled states. “The Congress Party in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Karnataka promised a loan waiver. In most places, the promise remains unfulfilled. The party, thus, has long legacy of slogans with no resources.”

Giving simple mathematics as to how much money has been spent in benefits like food subsidy, PM Kisan and Ayushman Bharat, Jaitley explained that the Congress’ promise of Rs 72,000 per annum to five crore families adds up to Rs 3.6 lakh crore. He then signed off by saying that the amount is two-third of what is being spent by the current government. “Bluff announcement,” Jaitley termed it.

NITI AYOG V-C IS UNHAPPY

Niti Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar also took to Twitter and dismissed the Congress party’s ambitious ‘Nyay’ scheme by calling it ‘populist and opportunist promise’.

He started off with a strong-worded attack, “True to its past record of promising the moon to win elections, Congress President announces a scheme that will burst fiscal discipline, create strong incentives against work and which will never be implemented.”

SOME SUPPORT

At the time of publishing the story, no political party or leader had hailed the Congress’ decision but National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah, who tweeted, “What’s wrong with a scheme to lift people out of poverty? MGNAREGA was met with similar scorn/disdain and its biggest critic CM Modi kept it going and added to the scheme as PM Modi.”

Congress and the National Conference have entered into a pre-poll seat-sharing pact in Jammu and Kashmir for the Lok Sabha elections. Addressing a press conference on March 20, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad and NC president gave a joint statement that there “will be a friendly contest between two parties” on the Anantnag and Baramullah seats. The state sends six lawmakers to the Lok Sabha.