Numbers prove money given was ‘niggardly’, ‘insufficient’: Chidambaram on govt assistance


PTI, Sep 10, 2020, 9:50 AM IST

Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday attacked the government over its assistance to the poor under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, alleging that money given was “niggardly and totally insufficient”.

The Finance Ministry on Tuesday said more than 42 crore people have received Rs 68,820-crore financial assistance under the government’s Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana to protect the poor and vulnerable from the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

As part of the Rs 1.70 lakh crore PMGKP, announced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on March 26, the government announced free foodgrains and cash payments to women, poor senior citizens, and farmers.

Attacking the government, Chidambaram asked, “How much did each beneficiary get under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana? Was it ‘relief’ in any real sense or tokenism?”

Under the National Social Assistance Programme (NSAP), 2.81 crore people got Rs 2,814 crore or Rs 1,000 per person, the former finance minister said and asked, “Could that sum have kept body and soul together”.

“Jan Dhan account holding women (20.6 crore) got Rs 30,925 crore or Rs 1,500 each over three months. Could a homemaker have run a family on Rs 500 a month?” he said in a series of tweets.

“Migrants (2.66 crore) got 2.67 lakh MT of food grains over 2 months. That is 5 kg per month. Could it have sustained a migrant and his family? The numbers prove that the money given was niggardly and totally insufficient,” Chidambaram said.

“And certainly, the money could not have acted as a ‘stimulus’ to boost demand and revive the economy,” he added.

Under the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, the government announced supply of free food grains and chana to migrants for two months, and the estimate of number of migrants provided by the states was about 2.8 crore.

“During the distribution period up to August, total 2.67 LMT of food grains was distributed to 5.32 crore migrants. This works out to an average of about 2.66 crore beneficiaries per month, which is nearly 95 per cent of the estimated number of migrants,” the ministry had said.

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