Nobel Prize winner Dr Abhijit Banerjee was one of the economists Congress had consulted for formulating NYAY or Nyuntam Aay Yojana. NYAY was the flagship social welfare programme of the party in its 2019 election manifesto. The scheme promised to give 20% families in poorest of the poor category Rs 72,000 each annually.
Speaking to BusinessToday.IN earlier this year Dr Banerjee said that he had suggested a minimum income guarantee of Rs 2,500 per month, keeping in mind the fiscal discipline. However, the Congress announced a more expansive and ambitious Rs 6,000 crore a month with an outlay of Rs 3.60 lakh crore.
"Going with Rs 2,500 or Rs 3,000 (per month) would have been a good start. I was a bit more conscious of the fiscal constraints in saying that," Banerjee said.
Speaking about the fallout of announcing such an ambitious figure, he said that the centre would have to generate additional resources to fund NYAY through higher taxes. "Some major tax reform has to happen. Whichever government wins, they'll have to do. There's no fiscal space for this. You have to create tax buoyancy," Banerjee had said.
He had also said that if NYAY came into effect, it would be implemented in two phases and would involve a set of exclusion criteria that will make government employees, car owners or owners of a pucca house in a city or a large village automatically ineligible for the scheme aimed at the poor. He further added that this exclusion criterion would be based on the Social Economic Caste Census 2011.
Dr Banerjee who is a noted professor of Economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA has been awarded the Nobel Prize (2019) for his efforts to alleviate global poverty. He has won the award along with his wife Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer for their "experimental approach to alleviating global poverty."
"The 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel has been awarded to Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer for their experimental approach to alleviating global poverty," tweeted the official handle of the Nobel Prize.