Raipur: Congress president Rahul Gandhi announced Monday that his party would ensure “minimum income guarantee” for every poor person in the country, if it is voted to power in the coming Lok Sabha polls.
The announcement comes ahead of the Union Budget, the last to be presented by the Narendra Modi government before the polls due in later this year. It also follows the NDA government’s decision to give 10 per cent quota to the economically backward section in the general category.
“The Congress has decided to take a historic decision…The Congress-led government is going to give minimum income guarantee. This means, every poor person in India will have a minimum income. This means there will be no hungry, poor people in India (any longer),” Gandhi said.
He was addressing a ‘Kisaan Abhaar Sammelan’ here to express gratitude to Chhattisgarh’s people, particularly farmers, for voting the Congress to power in the state after 15 years. Asserting that he gets done what he says, Gandhi added the minimum income guarantee would be implemented across the country. Later, he tweeted, “We cannot build a new India while millions of our brothers & sisters suffer the scourge of poverty.”
“If voted to power in 2019, the Congress is committed to a Minimum Income Guarantee for every poor person, to help eradicate poverty & hunger. This is our vision & our promise,” he said in his tweet.
“We don’t want two Indias. There will be one India, and in that India, the Congress will give minimum income to every poor person. No government in the world has done this till now. The Congress is going to do that, it will be a historic feat,” Gandhi said at the rally.
The BJP-led Union government wrote off `3.5 lakh crore worth of loans of 15 big industrialists but “did not waive the loans of the country’s farmers”, he alleged.
Continuing his attack on the Centre over the Rafale figher jet purchase issue, he reiterated the allegation that the government ensured a “benefit” of `30,000 crore to industrialist Anil Ambani in this “world’s biggest defence contract”.
On the contrary, the BJP-led governments cited lack of funds whenever the Congress demanded farm loan waiver, he alleged.
“Narendra Modi and the BJP want to create two Indias — one of loan waiver (for industrialists), Rafale scam, Anil Ambani, Mehul Choksi, Nirav Modi and Narendra Modi. In that you will get whatever you want…if you want Rafale contract, you will get it. If you want land, water, electricity, you will get it,” Gandhi said.
“The other India is of the poor, the weak, farmers, the youth. You are not going to get anything in that India. There you will only get ‘Mann Ki Baat’, 24 hours only ‘Mann Ki Baat’,” Gandhi said, referring to the Prime Minister’s monthly radio address.
On the Rafale issue, Gandhi said had the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) got the contract under offset obligation instead of Ambani’s company, “lakhs of youths” from Odisha or Chhattisgarh would have got employment.
But the Modi government told Francois Hollande, then French President, “to give the contract to Ambani and employment to the “youth of France”, Gandhi alleged.
Anil Ambani has denied the allegations that his company got any undue benefit when it bagged offset contracts in the Rafale deal.
Gandhi also said the Congress had promised to waive farm loans in Chhattisgarh within 10 days of coming to power, but implemented the decision within a day after forming the government.
He also distributed loan waiver certificates to some of the beneficiary farmers during the event, which was attended by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and senior Congress leader PL Punia.
The Congress posted a massive victory in last year’s Assembly polls in Chhattisgarh, winning 68 of the total 90 seats and ending the BJP’s 15-year rule.