Rahul Vows Guaranteed Minimum Income

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.

— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) January 28, 2019 Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram also termed as “historic” Gandhi’s announcement, saying it will mark a turning point in the lives of the downtrodden. The announcement comes four days ahead of the interim budget to be presented by the Narendra Modi government before the Lok Sabha polls due before June 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 and a likely announcement of a relief package for farmers grappling with falling prices of their crops and to tackle distress in the farm sector. The BJP said Gandhi’s assurance is like its “hundreds of other announcements” which were not meant to be implemented and an “off the cuff” announcement made “without any preparation or any provision for funding or proper agenda”. “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. 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 Rs 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 deal, he reiterated the allegation that the government ensured a “benefit” of Rs 30,000 crore to industrialist Anil Ambani in this “world’s biggest defence contract”. Both the Government and Ambani have rejected the allegation. On the contrary, the BJP-led governments cited lack of funds whenever the Congress demanded farm loan waiver, Gandhi 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. 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 P L 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. Garibi Hatao (“Remove Poverty”) was the theme and slogan of Indira Gandhi’s campaign for the 1971 Lok Sabha elections which was won by the Congress under her leadership giving her a second term as the prime minister. “People of India know the reality of Congress and have seen through its games,” BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said. “Gandhi’s claim to provide minimum income guarantee for the poor is like hundreds of Congress announcements which are not meant to be implemented. His party remained in power for 58 years at the Centre and made thousands of announcement. If they had been implemented, the face of the country, including of the poor, would have been different,” Prasad said. In a series of tweets, Chidambaram, a former union finance and home minister, said 140 million people were lifted out of poverty between 2004 and 2014, when the Congress-led UPA was in power. “Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s announcement at the farmers’ rally in Chhattisgarh is historic and will mark a turning point in the lives of the poor,” he said. Chidambaram said the principle of Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been discussed extensively in the last two years and the time has come to adapt the principle to the country’s situation and the needs and implement the same for the poor. “We will explain our plan in the Congress Manifesto,” he said. Chidambaram is the chairman of Manifesto Committee of the Congress for the 2019 polls. The Congress leader said “the poor in India have the first charge on the resources of the country and the party will find the resources to implement the promise of Rahul Gandhi”. “140 million people were lifted out of poverty between 2004 and 2014. Now we should make a determined effort to wipe out poverty in India,” he added. (PTI)]]>

#MyVote2019 – ‘I Won't Buy Modi's Dreams'

Navneet Chauhan, 28, postgraduate student, IIT Delhi Student   The last few years have definitely seen a change, but the change is in the perspective towards Modi. Initially he was thought to be the panacea for everything wrong with the country — the harbinger of ‘Achhe Din’. But that is not the case anymore. After being in power for five years and not having fulfilled most of the promises he made to people, he himself seems to have changed the goalpost. Now, he says he needs more time, till 2024. Whether it is doubling the income of farmers or building affordable houses, he wants another term for the job. Promises Falling Flat I voted for Modi in 2014, because he had pledged to clean river Ganga. Had he succeeded in doing so, I would have voted for him once again downright. But all his promises are falling flat. Not even half of his promises have been fulfilled. The problem is that this government has always identified itself with Narendra Modi — it was always called the ‘Modi’ government. It was never perceived as the government of the people of India. Had it been the government of the people of India — it would have respected dissenting views of the Opposition as well. On the contrary it launched a campaign for ‘Congress-mukt Bharat’, as if there weren’t any better things, our country needed to be ‘mukt’ of. In a parallel universe created by the Modi government, our country already seems to have gotten rid of poverty, malnourishment, pollution and other maladies. With no positive achievements to showcase, Modi has resorted back to the Ram temple issue to garner votes. I don’t know if Ram Lalla was born where they claim. But I know for sure that Maryada-Purshottam Ram would be deeply hurt after watching all the hateful, communal content being circulated in his name. Secondly, this government succeeded in putting a ban on cow slaughter but did not have a robust plan of what it would be doing with all the stray cows roaming around, once they were abandoned by their keepers/caretakers. Demonetisation and Fuel price hike Demonetisation was badly planned and people suffered because of its childish execution. It had been better if it was done after systems like UPI, online banking, other online payment methods were well established in the country. In a country where a large section of society still works on cash transactions, a move like demonetisation was bound to be a disaster. Now, according to RBI figures, it seems even the white money that was already there in circulation got out of the system. This is because a person, who earns Rs 1,000  per day was not keen on losing one day’s salary by standing in line, rather he chose to get Rs 800 of new notes in exchange of old notes of Rs 1,000 by illegal means. People made a racket out of demonetisation and got away with it. Apart from demonetisation, the rising prices of commodities hurt the economy. The price of a commodity is decided by various factors, such as land, labour, availability of raw materials and most importantly cost of transportation. With fuel prices increasing, the price of everything goes up. Petrol prices can still be tolerated but price hike of diesel hurts a lot because mainly trucks run on diesel, and they carry everyday consumables, namely vegetables and fruits etc. A common man can opt for public transport instead of his own vehicle to save money, but there is no replacement for food. The Delhi government’s economic policy is a good example of how a budget should be made. They have focused on health and education primarily, which any economist would approve of. This in my opinion is the right long- term solution for the nation’s economy. Quota Politics in an Election Year The Supreme Court had put a cap on reservation and stated that reservation should not be more than 50 percent. Petitions have been filed in the Supreme Court challenging the reservation in jobs for the people in General Category and as per reports though the Supreme Court has not stayed the decision, it will be examining the decision. I think the EWS quota is just a populist measure to garner votes from the upper castes. To me the truth is pretty apparent. The government is well aware of the fact that that Supreme Court will strike down this constitutional amendment. But the Modi government has brought about the amendment in an election year because the SC will take some time to give its verdict. I feel a decision will be taken only after the elections. But even if SC announces its verdict early, BJP will very smartly blame the Apex Court for playing spoilt sport. This is just another way of making fools out of us. Opposition also can’t openly challenge it because it would hamper their upper-caste vote bank. No Strong Opposition The Opposition led by Congress needs to raise issues such as price rise, farmer distress from the very beginning. These issues strike a chord with the common man. They have talked about Rafale deal case, is difficult for a layman to connect to. Alas! Because of lack of a strong opposition, I think Modi will be elected again. We have seen many a khichdi sarkars earlier. These governments were always constrained by the demands of smaller regional parties in the coalition. All opposition parties are trying to form a ‘grand alliance’ only at the fag end of Modi’s term. Thus, it is easier for Modi to brand them as a ‘coalition of opportunists’. Also it is very unlikely that a coalition government will work in harmony.]]>