Sangamner: Congress chief Rahul Gandhi on Friday said the minimum income guarantee scheme the party has envisaged will put the country’s economy back on track after it was allegedly hurt by the Centre’s noteban and GST moves.

Addressing a poll rally here in Ahmednagar district, Gandhi hit out at the Narendra Modi government over what he called the “highest” unemployment rate in the country in 45 years, particularly in the backdrop of the ruling BJP’s 2014 pre-poll promise of providing two crore jobs a year. He assured that the 22 lakh vacant posts in government services will be filled within a year if his party is voted to power in the ongoing Lok Sabha elections.

Gandhi said under the minimum income guarantee scheme, which the Congress has named as ‘Nyay’, Rs 72,000 per annum (or Rs 3.60 lakh in five years) would be disbursed to each of the country’s poor, 25 crore in total (or 5 crore families).  The Nyuntam Aay Yojana (Nyay), an anti-poverty programme, is part of the Congress’s manifesto for the 2019 polls. The Congress president said the on-going Lok Sabha poll is “different” from other elections held in the past.

He dubbed the 2019 election as being a battle of ideologies of “hatred of the BJP and love of the Congress”. The Congress leader attacked Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the November 2016 demonetisation exercise and the July 2017 rollout of the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

“Modi ji implemented demonetisation and inflicted the Gabbar Singh Tax. Modi ji snatched away the money the people had and gave it to the rich like Anil Ambani,” Gandhi said. The Congress has been criticising GST as introduced by the NDA government as the “Gabbar Singh Tax”.

The Congress chief alleged that due to the twin decisions of demonetisation and GST, the purchasing power of people was blighted, which in turn, led to a drop in production of goods, resulting in unemployment as the factory owners slashed workforce owing to poor sales.

“The moment the poor will have money (through the Nyay scheme), they will start purchasing, factories would start operating again and the youth will get employment again,” he said, hard selling the minimum income scheme to voters.

Gandhi said the Congress, when it comes to power, will bring a law to ensure farmers are not jailed for non-payment of loans. “The rich like Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Vijay Mallya fled away, (and) are roaming out. But if a farmer from Maharashtra takes even a Rs 20,000 loan, (and) fails to repay, he is arrested. What kind of India is this?” Gandhi asked.

“After the 2019 polls, no farmer of India would be jailed if he fails to repay loan. The Indian government will frame a law,” he said. The Congress president said despite the BJP’s 2014 poll promise of generating two crore jobs a year, 27,000 jobs are being lost a day under the NDA’s watch.

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