On the death anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi today, the Chattisgarh govt has launched Rajiv Gandhi Kisan NyAY yojna. Rs.5700 crores is the budget of Chattisgarh NyAY yojna, 19 lakh farmers to benefit. A sum of Rs. 10,000 will be given in 4 installments.

This is a scheme to make direct cash transfer to farmers accounts. It is the same scheme which was suggested by Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee to Rahul Gandhi and included in the 2019 Congress manifesto which raised quite a storm. Economist Thomas Piketty and Angus Deaton had helped Rahul Gandhi frame the details of the scheme.

In recent years, as it has been realized that ‘trickle down economy’ don’t really work, direct cash transfer has become the most recommended policy not just for poverty alleviation but also to boost economy. Several Economists and industrialists have repeatedly said this is the single most effective scheme to help poor particularly in the aftermath of covid lockdown, Raghuram Rajan, Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo, Naushad Forbes, Thomas Piketty to name a few.

But Modi supporters and BJP have dismissed it as “useless pappu idea” at best and “dangerous doles” at worst. Where would the money come from, they asked. Poor will drink away and get lazy if they get easy money, they said. Though empirical research exists to show that poor don’t waste direct cash benefit rather spend it wisely to improve their lives. Duflo and Banerjee’s Nobel prize in economics is also on this work.

Meanwhile, liberals though Modi critiques, did not say much kind words to the scheme when it was announced, due to their skepticism for Congress and Rahul Gandhi. As a test of the scheme’s real value, they kept asking why can’t Cong implement NyAY in Cong rules States. Now they have. Maybe next thing Liberals will ask is why not Rajasthan.