In a move that anticipates the announcement Modi government was possibly going to make in the forthcoming budget or around that time, Congress president Rahul Gandhi today (Monday, Jan 28) said that if voted to power, his party will ensure a Minimum Income Guarantee to every poor person in India.
Gandhi made the announcement at the ‘Kisaan Abhaar Sammelan’ held in Chhattisgarh to express gratitude to people, particularly farmers, for voting the party to power in the state after a gap of 15 years.
<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>We cannot build a new India while millions of our brothers & sisters suffer the scourge of poverty. <br><br>If voted to power in 2019, the Congress is committed to a Minimum Income Guarantee for every poor person, to help eradicate poverty & hunger. <br><br>This is our vision & our promise.</p>— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) <a href=”https://twitter.com/RahulGandhi/status/1089854868175638528?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>January 28, 2019</a></blockquote>
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Gandhi prefaced his announcement by saying no country in the world has such a scheme (although countries like US have the system of social security) and that the Congress has delivered on its previous poll promises, quoting revolutionary programmes such as MGNREGA and RTI among others.
“This means, each poor person in India will have minimum income. This means there will be no hungry, poor people in India… This is our vision and our promise,” he added.
“We cannot build a new India while millions of our brothers and sisters suffer the scourge of poverty,” he added.
The idea takes forward the UPA government’s MNREGA, the rural employment guarantee scheme that ensured 100 days’ job to every person.
He accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the ruling BJP of trying to create two Indias — “one of the Rafale scam, Anil Ambani, Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi and the other of the poor farmers”.
Gandhi also distributed symbolic loan waiver certificates to some of the beneficiary farmers. The Congress has waived loans for farmers from cooperative and state-run banks worth above Rs 6,100 crore after coming to power in the state.
The Congress chief had ended the last week on a high, announcing the entry of his sister Priyanka Gandhi Vadra into active politics from eastern Uttar Pradesh, which would pitch her against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his constituency Varanasi, and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath from his home turf Gorakhpur.
The Congress, Gandhi had said at the time, “will not play on the backfoot”.