UPA govt defends cash transfer
Says plan was announced in this year’s Budget
Defending the direct cash transfer scheme on Tuesday, the UPA government, in reply to an Election Commission notice, said they were merely implementing a proposal made in this year’s Union budget.
The three-member commission, headed by Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath, discussed the government’s reply but deferred a decision on it.
The EC was miffed at the government’s “pro-people” move ahead of the Gujarat Assembly elections and asked it respond to their notice by 5 pm on Tuesday.
On Sunday, the EC had sent a reminder to Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth, expressing annoyance over the government’s failure to reply to the notice sent a day before. The EC warned that it will take appropriate action if the government failed to respond by Tuesday evening.
The government’s reply was drafted on the basis of inputs from the Planning Commission on the scheme. The plan panel’s note was accompanied by a brief from the Cabinet Secretariat, stating that the matter was referred to the plan panel for details of the scheme.
‘Poll code not violated’
Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal defended the government’s move, claiming that the scheme did not violate any poll code of conduct since former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had referred to it in his budget speech early this year.
“This (direct cash transfer) is the implementation of an announcement that has already been
made,” Sibal said.
The EC notice was discussed on Tuesday in a meeting of the Group of Ministers on media.
Sensing an opportunity to attack the government, the BJP’s election cell shot off another letter to the EC, requesting that implementation of the scheme should not be allowed as details are sill to be worked out.