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Last Updated : Jan 28, 2019 08:13 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Congress committed to FRMB, minimum income guarantee to be implemented by Centre and states: P Chidambaram

Earlier during the day, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had announced that his party would ensure minimum income guarantee for every poor in the country if it returns to power.

Moneycontrol News 

Explaining the rationale behind Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's announcement on January 28 on ensuring minimum income guarantee for poor, former Finance Minister P Chidambaram said that the party is "adapting the principle of Universal Basic Income."

Speaking to CNBC-TV18, Chidambaram said that Congress is "committed to Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM)" and that the deficit will "remain around level of three percent."


"Except in the aftermath of 2008 crisis, we have always maintained fiscal under control and progressively brought it down. We brought it down to 4.5 percent or so. Congress is committed to FRBM," said Chidambaram, adding that if a Congress government is voted to power, it will "find resources to fund the programme".

Speaking on the redrawing of current subsidiary arrangement, Chidambaram said that he will not go into specifics at this point.

"We may have to take coalition partners on board, this will be a collective decision," Chidambaram told the news channel. "Whatever needs to be done will be done. Seventy years after Independence, we cannot and should not allow any family to go below the poverty line," he added.

Chidambaram said that the Centre and state governments will collectively implement the scheme.

"We will find ways with which the burden or obligation can be shared. The initiative will be from the central government and the bulk of the obligation will be borne by the central government. We firmly believe that we must carry the states in any national programme and schemes. We will invite all the states to join, and I am sure no state will say no," Chidambaram said.

Responding to criticism against the announcement, Chidambaram said that while people "always find arguments against an idea", all the critics would be invited to implement the scheme.

"We (Congress) have nothing to borrow from the BJP. BJP has practically nothing to teach us. We are doing this as a part of firm belief that the poorest have the first right to resources in this country. Every family needs to be brought to level of minimum income," said Chidambaram, when asked about whether the Congress is borrowing the idea from BJP.

The senior Congress leader also spoke about the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and said that while the scheme was criticised, "people who said that they will wind up MGNREGA when they come to power have now embraced it."

"MNREGA has utility but we have to go beyond that," Chidambaram said.

Earlier today, Congress president Rahul Gandhi had announced that his party would ensure minimum income guarantee for every poor in the country if it returns to power after the Lok Sabha polls due in April-May.

"The Congress has decided to take a historic decision... The Congress-led government is going to give minimum income guarantee. This means, each poor person in India will have minimum income. This means there will be no hungry, poor people in India," Gandhi had said.
First Published on Jan 28, 2019 08:09 pm