RAHUL’S OFFER: Congress president promises ‘minimum basic income’ to all of India’s poor multitudes


RAIPUR: In what is intended to be the most luring bait to the large army of India’s poor, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said on Monday that he would guarantee a “minimum basic income” for all the citizens if the Congress party wins the coming 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “This would go directly to their bank accounts,” he has said.

Rahul Gandhi said, as per his plan, “Nobody will remain hungry and nobody will remain poor.” He said this is the first time in the world that such a welfare scheme will be implemented in a country. He was addressing a Kisan Abhaar Sammelan, organised by the Congress to express its thanks to the farmers and others who have elected the party to power in the last assembly polls.
Interestingly, Indira Gandhi had raised the slogan of “Garibi Hatao” in the 1970s and swept parliament polls, though the plight of India’s poor never improved under her rule for more years, or even today under the rule of the Modi government. What they got, under Sonia Gandhi-led UPAII was a subsidized rice scheme for the Below Poverty Line people, but this did not help the Congress win the 2014 parliament polls.

Fact is, after about 60 years of rule by the Congress, and of late by the BJP too, the poor in India has become poorer and the rich have become richers. Wealth is increasingly getting concentrated in the hands of one per cent of the nation’s super rich, as a recent Oxfam report has also noted.

Two of Modi’s prominent pro-poor initiatives need a mention here. One is the Ayushman Bharat scheme, under which each needy family is insured for a maximum of Rs five lakh per year by way of treatment and medical expenses. Under another scheme for the poor, the Modi government has granted over six crore free gas connections to those in the BPL segment. Despite all these, the condition of India’s poor is turning worse also for the reason that they are not having enough of employment opportunities. – IHN-NN

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