Minimum income guarantee Congress’ surgical strike on poverty: Rahul Gandhi

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Congress chief promises a “real GST”; the party asks Modi to spell out stand

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday described the minimum income guarantee scheme, a promise he made to electors on Monday, as a surgical strike on poverty. Separately, the Congress asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP to spell out whether or not they supported the plan.

“They did Demonetisation and Gabbar Singh Tax. We will give NYAY and a real GST. NYAY = Surgical Strike on Poverty = 72,000 Rs a year to India’s poorest 20 per cent,” Mr. Gandhi wrote on Twitter.

At a press conference, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) was not a “top-up scheme;” it would be women-centric: the annual income of ₹72,000 would be credited to the bank account of the woman of the household.

Accusing BJP Ministers of opposing the NYAY, Mr. Surjewala said it was “shameful that the pro-rich Prime Minister Modi is opposing the world’s biggest anti-poverty scheme.”

The spokesperson responded to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s remarks calling the proposal a “bluff announcement” and accusing the Congress of having “betrayed” India for 70 years in the name of poverty.

“₹72,000 would be deposited to the bank account of the woman of the family. The Modi government’s Economic Survey for 2016-17 admitted that India under the Congress reduced poverty. Poverty, which was 70% during independence, came down to just 22% in 2011-12. With the path-breaking NYAY, the Congress will now eradicate the remaining 20% poverty,” Mr. Surjewala said.

“The anti-poor DNA of the suited-booted PM Modi and his incompetent Finance Minister Arun Jaitley stands exposed as they bitterly oppose the world’s biggest anti-poverty scheme,” he said.

The Congress leader also attacked NITI Aayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar and advised him to contest in the election on BJP ticket.

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