The Congress on Tuesday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP to clearly spell out whether they support its proposal to give Rs 72,000 annually to five crore poor families under a minimum income guarantee scheme, claiming many BJP ministers were opposing the idea. Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said the Nyunatam Aay Yojana (Nyay) is not a “top-up scheme” and is a women-centric scheme whereby the money will go directly into the bank accounts of the woman member of a family.
Speaking a day after Congress President Rahul Gandhi made the announcement about the poll promise after a meeting of the party’s working committee, Surjewala alleged that it was “shameful” that the “pro-rich” Prime Minister Modi was opposing the world’s biggest anti-poverty scheme.
Gandhi made the scheme public soon after it was given a go-ahead by the Congress Working Committee that had met at the AICC headquarters to give final shape to the party’s manifesto for the April-May parliamentary election, to be released soon.
The Congress leader also attacked Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for dubbing the scheme as a “bluff announcement”, saying no other political party has “betrayed” India for more than seven decades in the name of poverty.
Surjewala also attacked government think tank NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar dubbing the body he headed as “Rajneeti Ayog” and asked him to run the organisation from the BJP office and contest elections instead.
On the proposed scheme, the Congress spokesperson said, “...every poor family shall be rightfully entitled to Rs 72,000 per annum. This will apply to both urban and rural poor families.”
“Rs 72,000 would be deposited directly in the bank accounts of the woman of the family. Modi Government’s ‘Economic Survey 2016-17’ accepted that India under the Congress reduced poverty. Poverty which was 70 per cent during Independence has come down to just 22 per cent in 2011-12. With the path-breaking ‘Nyay’ scheme, Congress will now eradicate the remaining 20 per cent poverty too,” he said.
Targeting the prime minister, he said, “The anti-poor DNA of suited-booted PM Modi and his incompetent Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stand exposed as they bitterly oppose the world’s biggest anti-poverty scheme.”
He alleged that the prime minister “can happily waive” Rs 3.17 lakh crore for a handful of crony friends but opposes the Rs 6,000-per month respite for the poor. “Because Modiji opposes anything & everything that is pro-poor, People will now do ‘NYAY’ (justice),” he said.