General Elections 2019

Congress promises Rs 72,000 per year minimum income for poor

Calling it the Nyaya scheme, Rahul Gandhi said it will be an extension of UPA government’s flagship MGNREGS

By Jitendra
Published: Monday 25 March 2019

Indian National Congress president Rahul Gandhi on March 25, 2019 said his party would ensure a minimum income of Rs 72,000 per year for the poorest 20 per cent of India's population. 

Earlier this year in January, Gandhi had promised to give minimum income guarantee (MIG) to the poor while addressing a rally in Chhattisgarh. This announcement put the Narendra Modi-led government in an uncomfortable position with the upcoming general elections.

During the Interim Budget 2019 presentation, Union minister Piyush Goyal announced a relief of Rs 6,000 through direct cash transfer to small and marginal farmer households.

Calling it the Nyaya scheme, Gandhi said it will be an extension of UPA government’s flagship Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

The party promised that India’s poorest — almost 20 per cent — will get Rs 72,000 yearly in their bank accounts under the MIG scheme.

“It’s MGNREGS II, in which we have planned to take out 5 crore families and 25 crore people out of the web of poverty. We have already taken 8 crore people out of poverty through MGNREGS I,” Gandhi said during a press briefing.

He added that this scheme would be implemented in a phased manner, after conducting a pilot project.

According to the erstwhile Planning Commission, the poverty line for rural and urban areas was — Rs 27 per day for rural areas, and Rs 30 per day for urban areas in 2014.

According to this estimate, some 216.5 million people in rural areas are poor, while 52.8 million in urban areas are poor. This means that around 269 million people survive on Rs 27-30 per day in the country.

Taking dig at the PM Modi, that he has been providing Rs 3.5 per day to farmer households, Gandhi said that “rising economic inequality is creating a very sad situation in the country”.

“This scheme is going to provide economic justice to the poor people of India. It is quite a fiscally prudent idea to eliminate poverty,” he added.

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