The Nyuntam Aay Yojana (NYAY) or minimum income guarantee scheme, a key promise in the Congress manifesto for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, is set to make its first appearance in Chhattisgarh.
Under directions of the party high command, the Chhattisgarh government is likely to launch a pilot project for the scheme. Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel last week met Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi. K. Raju, who headed the office of former party president Rahul Gandhi, was in Raipur to brief Mr. Baghel about the scheme.
NYAY was the corner stone of the Congress campaign with the slogan — Ab Hoga Nyay (now there will be justice). The manifesto had a image of an old woman hugging Mr. Gandhi with the tag line – Garibi par waar (strike on poverty) while guaranteeing ₹72,000 per annum to the poor.
Push to rural economy
In the run up to the election Mr. Gandhi had variously referred to NYAY as a “surgical strike” on poverty, a “diesel for the engine of Indian economy” and “remonetising the economy” through the scheme. He often pitted this against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s claim in 2014 Lok Sabha election campaign of depositing ₹15 lakh in every Indian’s account by bringing back the black money stashed abroad. However, the party was unable to create a buzz about the scheme.
The Chhattisgarh pilot promises to ₹72000 per annum to 20% of the poorest families of the State. The Congress has been repeatedly claiming that this kind of fund input is essential to keep the economy afloat. Launching the scheme in Chattisgarh, an insider said, is a way to keep it alive.
“We are discussing it within the party and it is under consideration. It will begin as a pilot project in a small area at first just the way we started a pilot project against malnutrition in Bastar to begin with and will expand it to the rest of the State on October 2,” Mr. Baghel told The Hindu.
Mr. Baghel said after final discussions with the party high command and State leaders, the modalities will be charted out.
The scheme was a result of closed door meetings with many economists, Rajeev Gowda, convenor of the Congress manifesto committee said. NYAY was distilled down from the idea to provide Universal Basic Income which was seen as fiscally impractical.