Debate: Rahul’s Minimum Income Guarantee a Game Changer?

A debate on the economic and political impact of Congress’ Minimum Income Guarantee announcement.

2 min read

At a rally in Chhattisgarh, Congress President Rahul Gandhi made an announcement that if the UPA comes to power in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, it will provide a guaranteed minimum income to the poor of the country.

With his announcement making headlines, BloombergQuint talked to the Head of Congress’ Data Analytics, Praveen Chakravarty; Political Editor of Business Standard, Aditi Phadnis and Political Commentator Madhavan Narayanan on how the scheme will work and its political impact.

The panel also talked about the economic significance of the move and the challenges, and how this could be seen as a big political move by the Congress, in the same week that the budget is set to be announced.

The debate started with Chakravarty explaining what Minimum Income Guarantee is. Calling it a ‘progressive scheme’, he said that it will only be aimed at the poor.

Details of the scheme will soon be announced in the party’s manifesto for the elections.

Chakravarty said that there various frameworks were being worked upon, when asked how the amount of guaranteed income could be derived.

“There are various frameworks that we are thinking about, including the average per capita income, what is the minimum standard of living, inflation, all of that.”
Praveen Chakravarty to BlommbergQuint

Chakravarty answered questions on the targeting of the recipients of the scheme, if India can afford a scheme like this or if it will affect the already in-place schemes, without giving much on the plan of action. Listing out the economic impact of such schemes, he said that the upcoming manifesto will make things clearer.

When Aditi Phadnis asked Chakravarty whether the Congress would be willing to do a trial run of the schemes on a state level first, the Congress leader replied that there might not be enough time for that, since the manifesto is out in the next few weeks.

On the political impact, Madhavan Narayanan said that this is a ‘political poker’. ‘Competitive populism’, he called it.

(With inputs from BloombergQuint)

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