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Pronab Sen on economic implications of Congress’ minimum income guarantee scheme

Updated : March 28, 2019 11:59 AM IST

The Congress party has promised to guarantee an income of Rs 72,000 per year to the bottom 20 percent of the poorest families if it forms the next government. To analyze the economic implications of this scheme, CNBC-TV18 spoke with Pronab Sen, the former chief statistician.

Sen said it would be very difficult to identify the bottom 5 crore families of the country. “At the moment what we have is only the Socio-Economic and Caste Census (SECC), which in itself does not give an indication of the economic status. It looks at correlates of poverty, that is what it measures,” he said.

“Just identifying these bottom 20 percent from a Central perspective is extremely difficult and is going to give rise to a lot of gaming of the system. There are people who are going to try and manipulate things,” Sen said.

"However, the other way of doing it would be not talking about the 20 percent of the country but look at the poorest 20 percent in a village, poorest 20 percent in a ward etc. The urban would be much more difficult to do but in villages, the Gram Sabha could identify the bottom 20 percent, they could do a good job," said Sen.

Talking about the GDP growth for the fourth quarter, he said, "The election spending has not happened and so the first quarter of next year may look little better than the fourth quarter. Growth could be sub 6.5 percent, closer to 6 percent."
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