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EC says Niti Ayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar’s criticism of NYAY violated model code of conduct, expresses displeasure

EC said that public servants should not only be impartial in their conduct but also in their public utterances, which was found wanting in his case

The Election Commission has said that Niti Ayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar’s statement about the NYAY promise of Congress party has violated the model code of conduct for the 2019 general elections. In a letter addressed to Kumar, the EC wrote that his reply to the notice issued by the commission was not satisfactory. It said that public servants should not only be impartial in their conduct but also in their public utterances, which was found wanting in his case.

After Congress president Rahul Gandhi has announced the election promise of minimum income guarantee scheme or “nyuntam aay yojana (NYAY)”, Niti Ayog vice-chairman Rajiv Kumar had criticised the scheme. The scheme promises to pay Rs 72,000 per year to 20% poorest families in India, which is around 5 crore families.

Kumar had said that scheme borders on irresponsible, and it has been announced only for the elections. He had said that this the worst form of vote politics. He had also said that scheme will need to replace current subsidies, which is not possible, and it will raise the fiscal deficit by as much as 3-3.5 percent. He had said, “The biggest danger would be that the credit rating agencies will see the huge debt to GDP ratio and junk our credit rating. This will increase the cost of borrowing for the government as well as private companies. This race to populism can seriously hurt investment and growth. Rahul Gandhi should be told that he would be doing a great injustice to economic stability with this scheme.”

Rajiv Kumar’s comments had drawn the attention of the Election Commission, and the Commission had sent him a letter asking for explanations on his comments. After receiving his response, the commission has determined that his replies are not satisfactory, and his comments violated the code of conduct. However, EC has chosen not to take any disciplinary action on Kumar for this violation. The Commission has written that it is conveying its displeasure on the comments of Rajiv Kumar, and expects that he will exercise caution in the future.

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