Congress’ minimum income guarantee scheme or Nyay will have the most beneficiaries from seven states, five of which have non-Congress governments.
With the promise of Rs 72,000 a year to the 20% poorest of the poor Congress is hoping to woo a constituency which has consistently voted for regional parties or BJP. According to the studies conducted by Congress before giving the final shape to Nyay, about 80% of the beneficiaries of the scheme would be in seven states – Odisha, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and tribal districts of Madhya Pradesh. Until recently, Congress has not been in power in any of the seven states for over 15 years. It has only recently formed governments in two states – Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh – in November 2018.
A senior Congress functionary, who was involved in the ground work for Nyay said, “In our analysis we have gone by government statistics. UN standards put India’s poverty at 30%. Out of these we are taking the bottom 20% and trying to bring them to a subsistence level. The most beneficiaries would be from districts that have been termed as backward.” The studies have taken Census 2011 data to see the geographical spread of beneficiaries. “These are largely spread across Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, UP, MP and Chhattisgarh. These are the new BIMARU states, in the traditional sense of the word,” said the leader. The exact number of beneficiaries, however, is not known state-wise and the detailed exercise would be done only after an expert committee is formed, if Congress is voted to power.
Odisha has been a citadel of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and Congress is just an also-ran. Even in Bihar and West Bengal, it is the regional satraps Nitish Kumar and Mamata Banerjee who have been favoured by the electorate. Congress is hardly a force to reckon with in Uttar Pradesh.