Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday hit out at Congress president Rahul Gandhi for his "bluff" promise to provide a minimum income guarantee scheme to India's poor stating that a party who allegedly rode to power on its 'Gareebi Hatao' (eradicate poverty) slogan had no right to make such assurances.
Jaitley also said that Indira Gandhi believed in 'redistribution of poverty' and not its eradication.
"Indira Gandhi won the election in 1971 in the name of 'Gareebi Hatao' but she didn't take necessary steps to eradicate poverty," the Union Finance Minister said at press conference here.
"She did not believe in expanding the economy, she did not believe in the generation of wealth, she only believed in redistribution of poverty," Jaitley said.
Rahul Gandhi had earlier on Monday promised minimum guaranteed income of Rs 12,000 per month to the 20 per cent of the poorest families of the country if his party comes to power. It will implement a "ground-breaking" Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY), under which 20 per cent of the poorest families of the country will be entitled to up to Rs 72,000 per year, he said.
"The history of the Congress party is that in the name of eradicating poverty they have done political business. Their history is not of removing poverty, not of floating schemes for its eradication but rather of deceiving people in name of removing poverty," said Jaitley.
The Union Finance Minister also said that Congress which spoke against the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) is now promising it to give money to the poor through DBT.
"You questioned the DBT scheme and now you have decided that you will transfer the money through it. When your government was there you the money followed the channel, from centre to state, from state to district, from district to tehsil fand from Tehsil to Gram Panchayat. A small percentage only reached farmers," said Jaitley.
He said that Congress has misled the country on the issue of poverty for 590 years.
"You have misled the country on the issue of poverty for 50 years. Even after giving that slogan (Gareebi Hatao) if today you think that 20 per cent people don't even have an income of Rs 12,000, then the cross hangs on your neck for letting down poor of the country," said Arun Jaitley.
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