NYAY – ‘The Scheme Holds Promise’

Jai Kishore Singh, 72 a retired HR professional, sees a lot of promise in Congress’ proposed Nyunatam Aay (NYAY) scheme and hopes it is implemented well.

All those years in the HR department of a PSU have taught me to understand the fine print. Thus, if I had to give my opinion on Congress’s proposed NYAY scheme, I would say it is a much-needed step for the poorest of the poor, who don’t have the resources to improve their lives, despite having the willpower for it. But there is a hitch — the implementation.

The scheme has tremendous potential to successfully bail out the poorest of the poor sections. But if not implemented well, the scheme can end up exploiting the poor. Rahul Gandhi’s heart seems to be in the right place – he mean well. However, neeyat acchi hone se sirf kam nahi chalega, neeti bhi utni hi acchi honi chahiye. Aur neeti ka implementation bhi. Tabhi desh ki niyati badlegi. (just meaning well for the poor won’t work here, the policy and its implementation are equally important, then only can the fortunes of our country turn)

ALSO READ: ‘Create Jobs, Avoid Freebies’

The implementation will be carried out in phases and not in one fell swoop like demonetization. Rahul seems to have this well-planned. The Congress manifesto says that the scheme will be tested properly for six to nine months before running it. Implementing policies in a phased manner gives you the opportunity to learn from mistakes and carry out rectifications, if required. The janta can give valuable inputs too.

Here’s what happens if you rush in with policies that look good but haven’t been fine-tuned properly. I recently read about the BJP’s Ujjwala Yojana.  The beneficiary of the Ujjwala Yojana were only given gas cylinders and not cooking stoves. One of the most popular stove brand in villages and small towns is Sunflame Pride 2 burner stove, which costs around ₹2,249. To reduce the burden, the beneficiaries could pay for the stove and the first refill in monthly installments. However, the cost of all subsequent refills has to be borne by the beneficiary household. And this is where the scheme is failing. As per reports, poor people don’t have the money to get a 14 kg cylinder filled or even pay installments for the stove and are ultimately resorting back to traditional cooking methods.

ALSO READ: ‘Easy Money Makes People Lazy’

Rahul Gandhi has also talked about how he wouldn’t burden the exchequer for the implementation of this plan. Many people say that the NYAY scheme will put a burden on the honest taxpayer. Didn’t it put a burden on the honest taxpayer when the statues costing ₹3,600 crore and ₹ 2,989 crores were built? NYAY scheme is expected to cost ₹3.6 trillion and is supposed to benefit 2,500 crore ‘humans’, the majority of whom will then further contribute to the economy. The Congress has said that it would be doing away with some subsidies as well as sharing the cost with the state governments. So it’s a thumbs up for the NYAY scheme for me. Though at the national level I support Congress and its policies, at the local level I am very happy with the work done for our constituency by our MP Nishikant Dubey, who belongs  to BJP. He has worked extensively on broadening our roads, plus the waste management inside the town is good. He has streamlined Deoghar’s famous Saawan mela for kanwariyas (Deoghar is one of the only 12 jyotirlingas in the country) and the town’s economy is improving steadily under him. The best part, he is working on bringing back the town’s green cover. I like the man, not the party he belongs to.

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NYAY – ‘Create Jobs, Avoid Freebies'

Arup Chatterjee, 34, a business development consultant from Bhopal, who worked in the UK for four years, believes India can learn from the British social security schemes. He warns that handing out freebies like NYAY will only make them dependent on the state; the solution lies in creating more jobs.

I lived and worked for almost four years in the United Kingdom and came back in 2015. In these few years, I have been able to observe how both the countries help their poor. Unlike the UK, India took a long time to cope with the after-effects of colonization. As a result, both socially and financially, India remains backwards. However, now it is time to put an end to this, and that can be brought about only through a change in mindset.  

In case of populist schemes like Congress’ Nyuntam Aay (NYAY), I feel they are a way of giving handouts to people, which in turn, makes them lazy. India has a huge population of beggars, who would remain beggars and will have no motivation to work if they get money from the government. Thus, I don’t have high hopes from the as of now.

ALSO READ: Easy Money Makes People Lazy

The people who could benefit from such a scheme are the ones who work in India’s unorganised sector. Demonetization dealt a severe blow to these people and rendered them jobless. But I guess they won’t be covered under the NYAY scheme as they don’t belong to the poorest 20% of the population. Rahul Gandhi should look at addressing the problem of the unorganised sector as a whole. I have heard that he has talked about filling up 22 lakh government job vacancies within a year, if voted to power. 

Social security schemes for all sections of society in the UK are well-structured and India can learn a lot from it. However, I have seen many people turn lazy in the UK because the government supports them so well. We Indians generally don’t follow discipline, for e.g. standing in lines, but when it comes to freebies, ‘mamla air bigad jata hai aur log uspe toot padte hain’ (things get worse and people will go up to any extent to avail them). We need a social change where people understand that the government is there to help you only after you have tried to help yourself — himmat-e-mard madadan khuda (God helps those who help themselves).  

Whichever government comes to power, it must think about job creation and addressing unemployment. Women are more financially astute and they should more involved in such policy that would require large sums of money to be taken out from the exchequer.

The BJP government had also launched the PM-KISAN Samman Nidhi Scheme, which gives ₹2,000 every quarter to farmers owning agricultural land of less than two hectares. This is quite low in comparison to ₹6,000 per month, but BJP knows how to advertise its schemes better, while Congress/Opposition doesn’t. 

I also read that NYAY is expected to cost the exchequer ₹3.6 trillion or around 1.7% of the forecasted gross domestic product (GDP) for 2019-20. However, former Finance Minister P. Chidambaram has said that the cost will never cross 2% of the GDP. 

To put less burden on taxpayers, Congress is thinking about doing away with some subsidies as well as sharing the cost with state governments. Let’s see if it works, though I don’t have high hopes. 

Last time if I had got the chance to vote (because I was in the UK then) I would have voted for the BJP. However, this time despite seeing the tremendous infrastructural development around me, I am still to make up my mind whether to vote for it or not.

I am doing a lot of research before casting my precious vote and taking note of all facts and figures related to socio-economic development. Our city, Bhopal is known for communal harmony, but BJP is known for its divisive tactics and that is disturbing. I have seen people from all cultures coexisting peacefully during my stint in the UK and we need to bring back the thought of ‘unity in diversity’ in the mainstream to be happy as a country.

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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)]]>