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Consulted Raghuram Rajan, top economists for income scheme: Rahul Gandhi

Addressing a booth workers meeting in Jaipur on Tuesday, the Congress president said that before proposing the minimum income scheme, the party had consulted leading economists including Raghuram Rajan.

lok sabha elections Updated: Mar 26, 2019 21:15 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
rahul gandhi,narendra modi,lok sabha elections 2019
Addressing a rally at Bundi in Rajasthan, Congress president Rahul Gandhi said that PM Modi had not understood MNREGA that is why he shut it down.(REUTERS)

Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday said that the Congress had consulted leading economists, including Raghuram Rajan to check the feasibility of the minimum income scheme that was announced on March 25.

While addressing a meeting of the booth workers in Jaipur, he said that the Congress wanted to tranfer money directly to the people’s accounts and in line with that they had discussed the plan with many economists.

He said that the Congress party wanted to make PM Modi’s promise of Rs 15 lakh in every account come true.

“We began work six months ago. We thought of the PM’s plan to transfer money directly into the bank accounts. But he lied about the Rs 15 lakh to be put in the accounts. We decided to make it come true,” he said.

He said that the party worked quietly for six months to fulfil this plan.

“We spoke to big economists. Economists like Raghuram Rajan and others... We spoke to all of them. We told them we liked the idea and wanted to implement it. They told us we’ll need to make a minimum income line. After much deliberations and calculations, we arrived at the number of Rs 12,000 per month,” Gandhi said.

Earlier, while speaking at a Jan Sampark Rally at Bundi in Rajasthan, Gandhi claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi did not understand the MNREGA scheme and that is why he shut it down.

Gandhi said that the PM had given a speech in the Lok Sabha and had ridiculed the Congress and the MNREGA scheme as the “worst scheme” and had claimed that no one had benefitted from it.

“Our PM did not understand MNREGA. He did not understand what it was or what its aim was. The common people understood it, but the PM didn’t understand it,” Gandhi said.

Saying that there was a deep thought behind launching MNREGA, Gandhi said, “It wasn’t a scheme to dig potholes as the PM had claimed. It gave jobs to crores of people. In villages, people made different things. They made roads, built lakes, and when all these people worked, they got money, when they got money, factories were set up. Those people who worked and got money under MNREGA began buying things, factories were set up to manufacture those things, factories generated jobs, this kick-started the economy. But the PM didn’t understand this.”

Carrying his attack on the PM further, Gandhi said that after shutting down MNREGA, the PM brought about demonetisation.

“Under demonetisation he took whatever money was in your homes, whatever money was in the villages and kept all of that in the banks. You were left with no money,” he said addressing the people gathered for the rally.

“He removed the entire cash from the system. When people didn’t have money, they stopped buying goods, factories shut down, unemployment rose. He still hasn’t understood this,” Gandhi said.

He claimed that this was the reason there was the highest unemployment in the last 45 years in PM Modi’s tenure.

“Ask any youth what he does. He says ‘nothing’. That’s because the entire system has been destroyed but the PM doesn’t understand this. All he does is give speeches every day,” Gandhi said.

Referring to the NYAY (Nyunatam Aay Yojana) that the Congress is proposing to launch if it is voted into power in the upcoming elections, he said the money given to the poor will help kick-start the economy once again.

“Twenty per cent of the poorest of the poor will Rs 72,000 per year. This is not a gift, it’s justice. As soon as the people get the money, they will start buying things, factories will start running, the unemployed youth will start getting jobs and the economy will kick-start again,” Gandhi said.

On Monday, Gandhi had promised that if his party came to power, it would guarantee a minimum income of Rs 12,000 a month. The scheme, if implemented, is expected to cost Rs 3.6 lakh crore, around 2 per cent of India’s GDP. Gandhi has insisted that it is fiscally prudent.

Earlier, speaking at another Jan Sampark Rally in Ganganagar, Gandhi had said that the PM was trying to create two Indias; one India of the rich and another India of the poor.

First Published: Mar 26, 2019 17:54 IST

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