Rahul Gandhi announced that his Indian National Congress party will implement a universal minimum income for all poor after winning the elections.
The candidate for Prime Minister of India, Rahul Gandhi, announced that the Indian National Congress (INC) party which he represents will secure a universal basic income for the poor after winning April’s Lok Sabha elections.
The announcements came during a public rally held in Naya Raipur, Chhattisgarh is regarded as the first major campaign promise made by the INC.
“We have decided that every poor person in India would be guaranteed a minimum income after the Congress forms the government in 2019,” said Gandhi.
“This means, each poor person in India will have a minimum income. This means there will be no hungry, poor people in India.”
It is not yet clear if this plan, which would likely be carried out through cash transfers, would replace existing food, petrol, and fertilizer subsidies, according to media reports.
Gandhi’s party currently wields the power of the statehouse in Chhattisgarh, India’s ninth largest state.
INC is supported by farmers who are dissatisfied due to low crop prices. More than 49 percent of the population is employed in farming.
After coming into power in Chhattisgarh last December, the INC waived farmer’s loans over US$85 (Rs 6,100 crore) held with cooperative and state-run banks.
The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rebutted the announcement dismissing it as unrealistic and financially irresponsible.
Gandhi has been highly critical of the BJP, and condemned PM Narendra Modi of polarizing Indian society, by creating two Indias, “one of the Rafale scam, Anil Ambani, Nirav Modi, Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi and the other of the poor farmers.”
For former Union Finance Minister and Congress leader P Chidambaram, the party has already made significant headway in eliminating power. The party is responsible for leading initiatives to lift 140 million out of poverty between 2004 and 2014.
The latest proposal represents the possibility of dealing a final blow to poverty, “Now we should make a determined effort to wipe out poverty in India,” said Chidambaram.