Cong’s income guarantee plan to bust fiscal discipline: NITI Aayog

NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar on Monday said Congress party President Rahul Gandhi’s promise of providing Rs 72,000 annually to five crore families if voted to power will create strong incentives against work and bust fiscal discipline. At a press conference here, Gandhi announced that 20 per cent families belonging to the poorest category will be given Rs 72,000 each annually as minimum income if his party comes to power. “True to its past record of promising the moon to win elections, Congress President announces a scheme that will burst fiscal discipline, create strong incentives against work and which will never be implemented,” Kumar said in a tweet.

In another tweet, he said the cost of the minimum income guarantee scheme at 2 per cent of the gross domestic product and 13 per cent of the budget will “ensure” that real needs of people remain unsatisfied. Kumar also said the Congress party had promised ‘Garibi Hatao’ in 1971, ‘One Rank One Pension’ in 2008, food security in 2013 to win elections, but could not fulfill any of those. The “same unfortunate fate” awaits the populist and opportunistic promise of minimum income guarantee, he added. Meanwhile, the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister (EAC-PM) also criticised the pre-poll announcement by Gandhi in series of tweets, but later deleted them after it was pointed by a Twitter user that they were in violation of the model code of conduct.

EAC-PM had tweeted that in the last five years, a lot of hard work has gone into striking the right balance between economic growth, inflation and fiscal discipline. “INC’s income guarantee scheme (as of 25/03/2019) would either upset this balance or severely cut critical government spending. Both options dangerous,” it said. The proposed income guarantee scheme fails the economics test, fiscal discipline test and execution test, it added.

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