In his latest poll gimmick, Rahul Gandhi promised a quasi-Universal Basic Income to 20 percent of Indian families from the poorest strata of society. There are almost 25 crore families in the country and 20 percent of this means that 5 crore families will benefit from Rahul Gandhi’s proposed scheme. Gandhi said that every family will get 72,000 rupees per year. However, it seems that there is no consensus within the Congress party about the scheme. Rahul Gandhi and Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala have announced 2 contradictory versions of the scheme.
Rahul Gandhi has explained the methodology as a “Top-up scheme”. The scheme will reap benefits up till the cut off line of Rs 12,000 per month. As Rahul Gandhi explained it, “If a family earned Rs 6,000 per month, the government would give Rs 6,000 to help the family reach the minimum income mark of Rs 12,000.” However, Randeep Surjewala has claimed a different story at a press conference at the Congress headquarters in New Delhi. He has categorically stated that the minimum income scheme is not a top-up scheme and that every demarcated family irrespective of its monthly income will get Rs 6,000 a month (72,000 a year).
Rahul Gandhi himself is confused about the scheme. Initially, he claimed that every family would get 72000 per year. But later, he stated that families will get 72,000 rupees per month. He even said the 20 percent poorest families will get 72000 crore rupees per year.
Since the announcement of the Nyay scheme, the Gandhi family looks confused about poverty line or minimum income line. Rahul Gandhi said that the minimum income line would be 12,000 rupees per month while Priyanka Vadra said that it would be 6,000 rupees per month.
The Congress party has been reluctant to admit that the existing welfare schemse would be scrapped and taxes on the middle class would be increased to source the money for the scheme. Surjewala claimed that the party will finance the scheme by reducing the establishment expenditure of the government. He gave an astronomical figure of Rs. 60 lakh crore for the establishment expenditure and said that only 5 percent cut would be enough to finance the Nyay scheme. However, the reality is that the total expenditure of the central government is just 28 lakh crore rupees.
On one hand, Surjewala claimed that the existing welfare schemes would not be scrapped and on other, Abhijit Banerjee said that the Income-tax on middle class would be increased, a new wealth tax would be introduced and GST rate would also be increased. As if this would was not enough, Banerjee admitted that distortionary subsidies would be removed to source money for Nyay scheme.
The Congress party coined the Nyay scheme to use it as a poll plank for the general elections. Every person in the party is giving different details for the scheme. It is very clear that it was neither well researched nor party executives were briefed about this. Rahul Gandhi, the president of the party gives different measure for minimum income line and the amount of money to be transferred every day.