New Delhi: Congress President Rahul Gandhi has announced to ensure the minimum income for the poorest 20 per cent of the people in the country playing big bets before the Lok Sabha elections. This scheme has been named ‘NYAY’, under which the announcement has been made to giving 72000 rupees annually to the poorest 5 crore families of the country. In this regard, the estimated cost of the project is Rs 3.60 lakh crore. After this announcement of the Congress, the debate has arisen that where can such a big amount come from for running this scheme and how will this affect the country’s economy?
Commenting on the announcement of the Congress, Rajiv Kumar, the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, said, “In 2008, then finance minister P. Chidambaram took the fiscal deficit from 2.5 percent to 6 percent. This announcement is like moving on the same pattern. Rahul Gandhi is making an announcement without worrying about its impact on the economy. If this scheme applies, then we will go back four steps further. ‘ However, the Congress party says that this scheme is budget neutral (budget neutral is the concept in which the plan does not affect the budget) and will be prepared keeping in mind the fiscal deficit.
Jayati Ghosh, a professor of economics and development at Jawaharlal Nehru University, says that it is meant to be budget neutral of ‘NYAY’ scheme that the scheme will be funded by deducting from other schemes. So, the first question is that the Congress should clarify what plans is going to cut? The second biggest hurdle is to find out what’s the income, because people know about the plan and start hiding their income. The third challenge is that when people get paid without doing any work, then why do people work? Fourth, how will the money that the government gives to be spent better? The fifth is that where the money for the plan comes from?
Professor Jayati Ghosh says that it would have been better if the Congress party talked of facilitating public services – health, education, nutrition etc., for everyone. Simultaneously, the promise of guarantee of employment to rural and urban adults and those who are unable to work for any reasons have given them pension. These three steps could prove a minimum income guarantee. However, Jayati Ghosh believes that the debate over the announcement of this scheme has become clear from the fact that only economic growth will improve everything, this concept was a moonshine.
The biggest question in the debate is, where will the money come from for the scheme and what will be the impact on the financial loss?
Professor Arun Kumar of Jawaharlal Nehru University says that 3.60 lakh crore spent on this scheme is 1.8 percent of our GDP. If there is political will, then much money can be withdrawn from our economy. Demonetisation and GST have had a bad effect on the economy and poverty is deep. It’s all about worrying. This is the reason that the central government has announced Rs 75,000 crore in its budget to give support to the small and marginal farmers for the annual support of Rs 6000.
As far as the question is where the money for the ‘NYAY’ scheme comes from, we should bear in mind that just a few days ago this report had come that the country’s richest 9 people have 55 percent of the wealth of the country. There are 150 billionaires in India today, which is more than Japan. While Japan’s per capital income is 30 times more than us. In view of this, economic inequality in the country has increased steadily. If the government wants to add 0.5 per cent of the wealth tax, then Rs 1.50 lakh crore can be withdrawn for this scheme.
Apart from this, Arun Kumar says that the tax rebate is 6 per cent of our GDP ie 5-6 lakh crore rupees. It cannot be finished but can be reduce. The Kelkar Committee report also said that the government should reduce the tax rate and deduct tax rebate. On doing so, at least Rs 1 lakh crore can be mobilized. The central government has already made provision of 75,000 crore for the poor farmers, it can also be included in this. So, if there is a political will then money can be raised for the scheme and its financial loss will not have any effect.
Professor Arun Kumar, on the question of the impact of NYAY scheme on the country’s economy, says that the purchasing power of the people will be increased due to the implementation of this scheme, due to which even a little price rise can increase. But its positive impact will be that farmers will also get the right price for their crop which is not available right now. With this, the speed of the sluggish small-scale industries will also increase. By which employment will also increase and tax collection of government will also increase.
Economists and scholars believe that the announcement of the NYAY scheme has led to a debate over the inequality, wealth and poverty in the country. There will be something better. But the experts also believe that caution should be taken about such schemes as there is no such model in the world where such a large-scale minimum income scheme is being run. Therefore, policymakers will have to be cautious too.