Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s declaration that the poorest families in the country will be given ₹72,000 annually is nothing but an eyewash just like Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ₹15 lakh deal, Finance Minister T.M. Thomas Issac has said.
‘‘We welcome all schemes benefiting the poor, but cheating them with impractical promises is not acceptable,’’ he said at a press meet here on Tuesday.
Slamming the Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY), he said Mr. Gandhi’s scheme was all about minimum income transfer without taking into account the larger picture. ‘‘According to the scheme, you ensure a minimum income instead of all poverty eradication schemes. Kerala is a State with the lowest poverty rate in India and it is the result of the model we opted through land reforms, wage rise, free education, healthcare and Kudumashree,’’ he said.
He said the Centre was not even in a financial condition to implement the much-hyped Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) scheme providing ₹6,000 a year to farmers. ‘‘It finally ended up as a project transferring just ₹2,000 and Mr. Gandhi has an obligation to convince the public that his NYAY is not another version of this. Mr. Gandhi claims that the project has been conceived in consultation with renowned economist Thomas Piketty, but he does not say anything about generating an extra revenue of ₹5.3 lakh crore for the scheme. One main proposal of Mr. Piketty is the wealth tax and is Mr. Gandhi ready to implement that?’’ Dr. Isaac asked.
Talking about the Lok Sabha election, he said the Kollam constituency was an example of the unholy alliance between the BJP and the UDF. ‘‘This nexus became all the more evident when the BJP announced its candidate in Kollam. And it is not a recent development, as N.K. Premachandran, MP, has never criticised Mr. Modi or the RSS,’’ he said.
Commenting on Mr. Gandhi’s candidature in Wayanad, he said that it indicated nothing but UDF’s flawed political stand.