The Congress President, Mr. Rahul Gandhi,has clarified that funds for their election promise of the ambitious NYAY scheme would not be raised from the middle classes by increasing taxes. This was in response to a remark by the party's prominent member, Mr. San Pitroda, who had said that the middle classes should not be selfish and must be prepared to make some sacrifices to fund the Congress minimum income guarantee programme.
The Congress appeared to be in quick damage control mode over these remarks, with senior leaders rushing to clarify what the telecom honcho had intended. Leaders like Mr. P Chidambaram and Mr. Surjewala were in control of this dousing operation.
Mr. Chidambaram explained, 'I have already said in a press conference and numerous interviews that there will be no increase in the tax burden of the middle class. This is our promise.' Mr. Sam Pitroda had mentioned the middle class will have more opportunities and more jobs and the taxes may go up a little bit if NYAY comes into being. And so they should not be selfish and show a big heart'.
Mr. Pitroda has already been receiving much flak for his remarks and this has made Mr. Rahul Gandhi to step in to say that the funds would be generated by cutting down on wasteful government expenditure as also by mobilising additional resources. On raising funds for NYAY, Mr. Chidambaram said that the scheme would not affect Centre’s fiscal balance.
The minimum guaranteed income scheme will be rolled out in phases and will cost about 1.8 per cent of gross domestic product. When he Launched the NYAY last month, Mr. Gandhi had said that 5 crore poor families will be given Rs 72,000 each a year under the scheme. As many as 20 percent of families that are poor and 25 crore people will benefit.