Existing subsidies that are being granted to meet specific social or economic objectives will not be touched to implement the NYAY (Nyuntam Aay Yojana) scheme proposed by the Congress, former Finance Minister and senior leader of the Congress P. Chidambaram said. Under the scheme, 20% of the poorest families in the country will be given ₹72,000 annually.
Addressing a press conference to explain the proposal mooted by Congress president Rahul Gandhi, Mr. Chidambaram said the scheme would be implemented in phases after an initial pilot scheme and 20% of the poorest would be covered within five years.
When asked if the scheme would subsume other subsidies, Mr. Chidambaram said: “That is a matter to be decided on the need and merits of subsidies. But let me make it absolutely clear, subsidies that have been granted to achieve specific social or economic objectives will not be affected”.
He said every family should have a minimum income on the lines of the Minimum Wages Act that stipulates minimum wages. Mr. Chidambaram said at any point in time, the scheme would not exceed 2% of the GDP.
Slamming critics, he said, “I don’t wish to reply to anyone who criticises a programme intended to wipe out poverty”.
Referring to the MGNREGA, he said doubts were raised over the ability to roll-out the scheme.
“We proved that the scheme can be rolled out successfully. Mr. Modi, who criticised the scheme, has gone on record accepting its success,” he said. He said 20 or 40 years back, this scheme could not have been implemented.