Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Wednesday attacked the government over its assistance to the bad under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana, alleging that money provided was once “niggardly and completely inadequate”.
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 give protection to the bad and vulnerable from the affect of the Covid-19 crisis.
As a 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 payment to women, bad senior citizens and farmers.
Attacking the government, Chidambaram asked, “How much did every beneficiary get under the PM Garib Kalyan Yojana? Used to be 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 every over three months. Could a homemaker have run a circle of relatives 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 circle of relatives? The numbers prove that the money provided was once niggardly and completely inadequate,” Chidambaram said.
“And certainly, the money could not have acted as a ‘stimulus’ to spice up demand and revive the economy,” he added.
Under the ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan’, the government announced provide of free food grains and chana to migrants for two months, and the estimate of number of migrants given by the states was once approximately 2.8 crore.
“All through the distribution period up to August, complete 2.67 LMT of food grains was once distributed to 5.32 crore migrants. This works out to an average of approximately 2.66 crore beneficiaries per month, which is almost 95 per cent of the estimated number of migrants,” the ministry had said.