Former prime minister Manmohan Singh Saturday claimed the Congress' 'Nyay' minimum income guarantee scheme will not result in any new taxes and help restart the "economic engine" which has come to a "stop".
The senior Congress leader's remark comes as the BJP has claimed that the scheme will "ruin" fiscal discipline and the Congress will impose new taxes on middle class to finance it.
The Congress has promised to give an annual income support of Rs 72,000 to poor families under the scheme, if voted to power.
The former prime minister, also a noted economist, said his party is committed to fiscal discipline.
"Nyay scheme will cost between 1.2-1.5 per cent of GDP at its peak. Our nearly USD3 trillion economy has the fiscal capacity to absorb this expenditure. There will be no need for any new taxes on the middle class to finance Nyay. The economic stimulus it will provide will further help in fiscal discipline," he said.
The scheme has been conceptualised after much thought and consultations with experts, he added.
Singh said as the Congress government in 1991 brought in a new paradigm for India's development with the de-licensing regime and a rights based approach to governance in 2004-14, he was confident that a Congress-led dispensation in 2019 will implement 'Nyay' scheme successfully and usher in a new model for social justice and prudent economics.
"It is my sincere belief that Nyay has the potential to catapult India into the club of 'poverty free' nations in the world and I hope to be able to live to see our nation achieve this historic milestone," he said.
In remarks aimed at the Narendra Modi government, he said 'Nyay' will help restart "our economic engine that has come to a stop today".
"At a time when private investment and industrial production are low, Nyay can help bring our economy back to life and create new factories and jobs," Singh said.
The senior Congress leader said nearly 70 per cent of Indians were poor when India attained Independence from the British and the figure has come down to 20 per cent with sound policies adopted by successive governments over the last seven decades.
It is time now to renew our pledge to wipe out the last remains of poverty,he added.
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