Will Do the Math When We Form Govt: Chidambaram on Minimum Income

“This is an idea whose time has come and we can implement it if we form the next government”, said Chidambaram.

2 min read

Senior Congress leader and former Finance Minister P Chidambaram has explained that the minimum income guarantee scheme is an adaptation of the Universal Basic Income (UBI) scheme, stressing that it is not universal and will target the poorest of the poor in the country.

In an interaction with BloombergQuint, Chidambaram said the scheme would progressively ensure that every family would be brought up to a level of minimum income.

“This is an idea whose time has come and we can implement it if we form the next government”, said Chidambaram.

Explaining further distinctions of the Minimum Income Guarantee scheme from UBI, Chidambaram stressed that the focus of the new scheme would be progressive. Instead of providing the same amount of money to all the poor households, the focus of the scheme will be to ensure that every family is brought up to the same level, by whatever percentage is required to bring them up to the agreed upon level of income.

Different amounts of money will be transferred to different families to bring them to this same level, he explained.

However, Chidambaram refused to ‘do the math’and explain further broad parameters of the scheme or the expense it would pose to the Exchequer, stating that the finer details would only become available after the release of the Congress’ manifesto.

In the interaction, he said, however, that it is ‘doable’and that the poor have the first right in the country to access India’s resources and be brought up to a minimum level of income. The details, Chidambaram reiterated, the Congress would clear when they roll out the scheme once they form the government.

“I am confident that we will do it, we can do it and in fact, we must do it”, said Chidambaram.

When asked why the scheme had not been thought of and implemented in the previous terms of the Congress, he called such questions ‘irrelevant’.

With regard to whether other schemes would be replaced by the Minimum Income Guarantee Scheme, Chidambaram refused to commit and said that the call would be taken later, only if a scheme had outlived it’s utility.

He also said that while the Centre and the states would come together to implement the scheme, although the bulk of the responsibility would be taken by the Centre.

Chidambaram also said that the scheme would be high priority and that it would be addressed in the first year of the Congress’ term, should it come to power.

Watch the video for more details.

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