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Rahul Gandhi pledges to eradicate poverty; promises minimum income bill

Congress President Rahul Gandhi promises to bring ‘NYAY’ (Nyunatam Aay Yojana) to poor as he proposes minimum income bill for India’s poorest. The bill would boost the monthly income of the family to ₹12,000. He claims it to the final assault on poverty and the argest minimum income scheme of the world.

NYAY scheme will transfer up to Rs 72,000 into the accounts of poor households annually, he said after a party meeting to give final shape to the Congress manifesto. He even insisted that he has already consulted the economists and it is fiscally prudent.

“We are going to give you justice. Remember the number… The Congress guarantees that 20 per cent of India’s poor would make at least Rs 72,000 annually,” Rahul Gandhi said.

This does not mean everyone would get the Rs 12,000 dole. Gandhi explained that if a family makes Rs 6,000, the government would chip in the rest to raise the monthly family income to Rs 12,000.

Back in January, Rahul Gandhi had announced the guarantee scheme but hadn’t spelt out its broad contours. The government’s think-tank NITI Aayog had then run down the plan, declaring that India neither had the kind of fiscal space, nor the kind of complete data needed to implement such a scheme.

The scheme is widely seen as a version of universal basic income (UBI), a concept that entitles families to a certain threshold sum of money regardless of whether they work or not.

UBI first became part of the official discourse when the country’s then chief economic adviser Arvind Subramanian proposed it in the Economic Survey 2016-17. But the government did not pursue it.

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Written by Sugat Srivastava

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