Shashi Tharoor at an event in New Delhi, India. (Photographer: Pankaj Nangia/Bloomberg)

Budget 2019: Shashi Tharoor Says BJP’s Income Support For Farmers Is Inadequate

Senior Congress leader Shashi Tharoor said the income support scheme for farmers announced by the Narendra Modi government in its final budget is not enough to alleviate the rural distress.

“The Rs 6,000 a year income support for farmers is not a minimum income guarantee,” Tharoor told BloombergQuint in an interaction. “It boils down to Rs 500 a month and nobody is going to live meaningfully with ‘honor and dignity’, to use the minister’s words on that.”

Instead, Tharoor said the Congress’ minimum income guarantee, which it promises to implement when in power, is a better alternative.

“What the Congress is talking about is a real minimum income support. The government has excluded landless labour and farm labour in rural areas that don’t own up to 2 hectares of land. The urban poor are excluded,” Tharoor said. “What the Congress president announced is guaranteeing a minimum living income to people who are poor, irrespective of whether they urban or rural or own land or not. It is purely a poverty alleviation measure.”

But Bharatiya Janata Party leader Rajeev Chandrasekhar said the Congress is deliberately trying to twist what the scheme is intended to do.

“This is an income support programme, this is not an income programme,” Chandrashekhar told BloombergQuint. “This has to be seen as one piece of the overall set of initiatives the government has embarked on, for an overall outcome of doubling farm income by 2022.”

Watch the full debate here: