Rahul Gandhi promises ‘final assault’ on poverty

Rahul Gandhi
Rahul Gandhi (File photo. Credit: Asian Age)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi has promised to pay Rs 72,000 a year to five crore poorest families in India, if voted to power in the April-May general elections.

“This is the final assault on poverty in the country,” he declared in a press meet on Monday after the crucial meeting of the Congress Working Committee in Delhi. “It is doable. We have money,” he added.

By paying Rs 12,000 a month to the 20% of the families, he said there would be no division of rich and poor in the country and Indian would become “one”.

Rahul Gandhi claimed the decision on the Minimum Income Guarantee scheme (to be in the Congress’s election manifesto) had been taken after studying different models in other countries. He also revealed that former finance minister P Chidambaram and other are working on the final modalities of the scheme.

He also drew a comparison between the Farm Income Support Scheme of Narendra Modi’s government (paying Rs 6,000 a year to poor farmers) and the proposed scheme, and said such scheme is not launched so far in the entire world.

Analysts said Rahul Gandhi’s Minimum Income Guarantee eerily reminds one the “Garibi Hatao” (Eradicate poverty) campaign of his grandmother Indira Gandhi in 1970s. In 2012, almost four decades after the launch of the campaign, the Planning Commission said 37 percent of people were living below the international poverty line, earning less than $1.25 a day.

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