Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday termed the Congress's election promise to provide 25 crore poor people yearly financial assistance of Rs 72,000 a "bluff announcement", noting that the sum is "less than two-thirds" of the existing Direct Benefit Transfer provided by the Narendra Modi government.Jaitley's remarks came hours after Congress President Rahul Gandhi announced that 20 per cent families belonging to the poorest category will be given Rs 72,000 each annually under the minimum income guarantee scheme if his party comes to power.The BJP leader took a swipe at the Congress through his Facebook blog post as well as a media briefing.Taking into account the total amount of subsidies provided by the government, Jaitley claimed that Rs 5.34 lakh crore was already being distributed to the poor."In addition to the above, Rs 5.34 lakh crore, there are several other schemes which provide several thousands of crores more to the poor. If the Congress party's announcement is tested on simple arithmetic, Rs 72,000 for five crore families works out to be Rs 3.6 lakh crore, which is less than 2/3rd of what is being given - a bluff announcement," Jaitley told media.He accused the Congress of misleading the country on the issue of poverty for 50 years. "Even after giving that slogan (garibi hatao), if today you think that 20 per cent of the people don't even have an income of Rs 12,000, then the cross hangs on your neck for letting down poor of the country."
In its blog, he said: "No political party has betrayed India for more than seven decades other than the Congress party. It gave people of India slogans and very little resources to implement them. However, PM Narendra Modi ji has already given the poor what Congress promises."Jaitley said that Nehruvian model stagnated growth and Indira Gandhi gave legendary slogan of 'Garibi Hatao' in 1971 and just redistributed poverty. "The legacy of poverty in India reflects inefficient governance and economic model of the Congress party."Today, he said, most industrial workers get more than Rs 12,000 month."The minimum starting salary in government after the 7th CPC (Central Pay Commission) is Rs 18,000 a month. The landless and poor, amongst the villagers, get a MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act) payment. Minimum wages for the labour have been raised by 42 per cent."In the last five years, the government, headed by PM Narendra Modi introduced DBT through banks. Besides subsidies for food, fertilizer, kerosene, 55 Ministries handed over subsidies to the poor through the DBT which was enabled by Aadhaar," he said.Of loan waivers by the Congress, Jaitley said the party made the promise in Punjab, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Karnataka but in most places, it remains unfulfilled.