Gold, school stipends: Cong refines its welfarism pitch from Nyay to now

Abhijit Banerjee, co-founder of Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) and Nobel laureate in economics is among the proponents for minimum income cash transfers for those living in extreme poverty. His insights helped inform the proposed 'Nyuntam Aay Yojana' (Nyay) programme, set forth by Indian parliament member Rahul Gandhi, which aimed to provide annual cash transfers to the poorest 20% of Indian families.


Rahul Gandhi sprang a surprise in January 2019, announcing months before the Lok Sabha elections that his party would guarantee every poor person in India a minimum income if it came to power. Two months later, Rahul, then the Congress president, came up with Nyay, the party’s main promise for the elections. Under the 'Nyuntam Aay Yojana', Nyay in short, the poorest 20% of all families were promised an annual cash transfer of Rs. 72,000.

Though the Congress felt at the time that Nyay was going to be a game-changer, it failed to enthuse voters. But the fact remains that it conceptualised inputs from economists of repute such as former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan and Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee. Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was consulted before it was given a final shape by in-house economists such as P Chidambaram and Praveen Chakravarty.

The Indian Express