Income guarantee scheme historic, says Congress

It will strike at the roots of poverty, says Thulasi Reddy

Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee vice-president N. Thulasi Reddy on Tuesday called ‘historic’ and ‘revolutionary’ the proposed minimum income guarantee scheme for BPL (Below Poverty Line) families announced by the party’s national president Rahul Gandhi.

In a statement, the senior Congress leader said the objective was to alleviate poverty through this scheme. He said the scheme was designed to attack poverty at its roots by depositing a sum of ₹6,000 per month in the name of the women in the family every month. It would benefit 25 crore individuals from five crore BPL families.

The Congress leader termed ‘unfortunate’ the remark made by the NITI Aayog vice-president Rajiv Kumar, who said that the scheme was against the culture of work and the BJP leaders who said there were no funds to implement such a ‘fancy’ scheme.

He said the Narendra Modi government, which had been going out of its way to do favours to 25 ‘capitalists’ was now opposed to a scheme that was designed for the benefit of 25 crore poor.

APCC official spokesperson Gangadhar said the scheme would be included in the party’s election manifesto. He said Mr. Rahul Gandhi had announced the scheme after consulting about it with veteran economist Manmohan Singh and that the scheme was designed on the guidelines of the French economist Thomas Piketty.

Calling it the second and final phase of ‘Garibi Hatao’ programme, Mr. Gangadhar said the Congress-led UPA government, during its rule at the Centre from 2004 to 2014, had successfully brought down poverty to 21 % through this scheme.

Taking strong exception to the BJP leaders’ contention that the scheme was not viable as there were no funds available for its implementation, Mr. Gangadhar alleged that in the last five years, the Prime Minister had spent ₹ 6,000 crore on publicity, ₹2,900 crore on his foreign tours, loan waiver of ₹ 3.17 lakh crore to corporate companies and ₹30,000 crore on the Rafale scam. Why can’t we spend money for the poor, he wondered.

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