New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Monday said nearly 25 crore poor people in the India will get financial assistance of Rs 72,000 per annum if the party is voted to power.
Rahul Gandhi made the promise to voters less than three weeks before Indians start casting their ballots in mammoth elections that stretch nearly six weeks until May 19.He addressed the media after a meeting of the Congress Working Committee where they finalised the election manifesto of their party.
“It’s a historic decision. In the 21st era, still the ratio of poor people in India is higher. Our motto is that no Indian will remain poor and we will ensure minimum income,” said Rahul.
The congress president also said the poor will get the promised financial assistance directly on their bank accounts.
Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party routed Congress at the last general election in 2014 and his supporters hope the Hindu nationalist leader can deliver another crushing victory.
But Gandhi is trying to close the gap, promising among other things a safety net for Indians living beneath the poverty line in the world’s second-most populous nation.
Gandhi, whose father, grandmother and great-grandfather were all prime ministers, has attacked Modi’s economic record, accusing him of failing to create jobs for the nation’s youth or aid desperate farmers.His proposed cash handouts for the poor are seen as modelled loosely on universal basic income, a concept attracting growing interest around the world.
UBI—supported by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg among others as a way to reduce inequality—involves people being given a flat lump sum by the state instead of subsidies and social security payments.
It has been tried out in several countries including Finland and Kenya, and has been promised by the ruling party of the small northern Indian state of Sikkim as well as Italy’s new populist government.
Modi has already unveiled a raft of sweeteners for farmers and the middle class in Asia’s third-largest economy, hoping to deflect opposition salvos over his 2014 campaign promise to create “good days” for all.
Criticising the promises for the poor, BJP general secretary Ram Madhav said that Congress is sure about their defeat and now promising of giving the moon.