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Will Rahul’s Minimum Income Guarantee Promise Make Any Difference For Congress?

27 March 2019

Debashish Maharana

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Bhubaneswar: Dubbed by political bête noires a ‘do or die situation’ for the grand old party Congress, its chieftain Rahul Gandhi is leaving no stone unturned to form Government at the Centre for which he has been making several poll promises and yesterday itself has pronounced his party’s prime pledge of Minimum Income Guarantee (NYAY) for the Indian poor.

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Monday has said that nearly 25 crore poor people in the country would get financial assistance of Rs 72,000 per annum if the party is voted to power. Announcing the details of the party's promised Minimum Income Guarantee scheme (NYAY), Gandhi has said that the scheme would provide Rs 72,000 per annum to 20 per cent of the poorest families in the country.

Addressing the media at New Delhi after a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC), Gandhi said the scheme will be the "final assault on poverty".

Rahul Gandhi has also claimed that ‘NYAY’, a major promise of the Congress ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha polls, is economically feasible. He has further stated that the scheme would supplement income of those earning Rs 12,000 per month.

The million dollar question now arises how far this promise of Rahul Gandhi could make any difference in the future prospect of Congress in the upcoming general elections.

In his reactions, senior journalist and political analyst Prasant Pattnaik said, “In a bid to woo the voters, various parties are making various promises. Amid such a race, Congress has made this promise. Has Congress make any assessment of the number of beneficiaries? It is assumed that the party is making this promise superficially.”

He commented, “Niranjan Babu (OPCC president) has claimed it to be historic. I perceive it as impractical and hence it is historic. Without working out in detail, the party is stating is for the sake of a slogan. From where will you (Congress) get that money to be given to the beneficiaries? Will you (Congress Government) impose tax for that? Thus, it is a ploy to wrest power at the Centre.”

“Going by the current fiscal scenario, it is impossible. It can’t be implemented instantly under the Indian democratic system and constitutional constraints,” the senior scribe remarked.

Another senior journalist and political expert Prabhukalyan Mohapatra said, “Whatever poll promises are given, it is done keeping in view of the election and in a bid to influence the voters. Such poll promises lack sincerity and integrity. His (Rahul’s) grandmother Indira Gandhi had given the ‘Garibi Hatao’ slogan in 1970. It was her prime poll promise then. Even after 70 years of Independence and 80 years after separate Utkal Pradesh, Odisha is today enumerated as one among the poor States in India. Poverty and unemployment are still two arch issues in India as well as Odisha even after 70-80 years.”

“Will poverty be eradicated by giving the promised Rs 72,000? Poverty won’t go away even after supporting a family Rs 7.20 lakh. The party or parties who are making such poll promises (financial), it is should be funded by the respective party funds. There is no need for funding such scheme from the government coffers funded by the general taxpayers,” he opined.

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Prasant Pattnaik, Senior Journalist

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Prabhukalyan Mohapatra, Senior Journalist