New Delhi: Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday batted for the Congress party’s proposed NYAY scheme arguing that an annual income support of Rs 72,000 to each of India’s poorest families will not only restart the nation’s growth engine but also stimulate demand in a manner leading to increased economic activity and job creation.
Dismissing claims that the proposed scheme will strain the country’s monetary reserves, Dr Singh in a statement said that it would only cost anywhere between 1.2 percent-1.5 percent of the Gross Domestic Product — an expenditure that can be easily absorbed by India’s USD 3 trillion economy.
He said that the scheme was conceptualised after extensive consultations with expe-rts and would not lead to imposition of new taxes on the middle class.
Dr Singh further said that the scheme will ensure a “basic level of dignity and respect” for every Indian family. “By providing direct income support, NYAY will empower our poor with economic freedom and choice. With NYAY, India will usher in an era of minimum income guarantee and help create a new social contract for a new welfare state”.
The former PM rejected the argument that the country saw minimal growth in its initial decades under Congress governance.
“Nearly 70 percent of Indians were poor when India attained Independence from the British in 1947. With sound policies... adopted over the last seven decades, poverty levels have been brought down to 20 percent. It is now time to renew our pledge to wipe out the last remains of poverty”.
While unveiling the scheme as part of the his party’s manifesto, Congress president Rahul Gandhi claims that the NYAY scheme will revive an economy wrecked by the Narendra Modi government through initiatives such as the Goods and Services Tax and demonetisation.