Jayalalitha opposes cash transfer scheme

Jayalalitha opposes cash transfer scheme

Proposal bypasses state govts, says TN chief minister

Jayalalitha opposes  cash transfer scheme

Tamil Nadu chief minister and AIADMK leader J Jayalalitha on Saturday voiced her opposition to the Centre’s plan to launch the second phase of the Direct Cash Transfer (DCT) scheme to various beneficiaries from July 1, cautioning that the model bypasses state governments and is contrary to the “federal spirit” of the Constitution.

Directly transferring the amounts to beneficiaries bank accounts for subsidies provided to commodities sold under the Public Distribution System (PDS), LPG (cooking gas), kerosene and fertilizers etc were fraught with serious social consequences as “it is not the quantum of subsidy, but the access to and timely availability of commodities is a critical concern,” she said in her letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Saturday.

Jayalalitha said the DCT model could work for schemes which involve “conditional cash transfers like scholarships, maternity benefits, social security pensions, and the like”, which the Tamil Nadu government has already implemented. But extending it to commodities under PDS and related areas like LPG and fertilizers (for farmers), will be ‘bypassing’ the states totally, she said.

Stating that it was the administrative field machinery of the state governments which “carry out the entire process of identification and verification” of the beneficiaries, Jayalalitha contended that the release of money alone directly by the Centre under such schemes, “will result in divorcing authority from responsibility and accountability.”  Three districts in Tamil Nadu, Ariyalur, Pudukottai and Tiruchirappalli have been proposed to be included in the DCT roll-out from July 2013.

Lashing out at the guidelines issued by Union Planning Commission on the DCT implementation, Jayalalitha said, “This is clearly an infringement of the authority of the State Governments and in total violation of the federal polity of the country and the spirit of democratic decentralization.”

The AIADMK leader pointed out that the schemes listed for DCT’s phase-II roll-out are “schemes wherein the Centre and the states share the cost and the respective shares are released to a special purpose vehicle, which in turn releases it to the beneficiaries., If the Centre insists on implementing DCT or ‘direct benefits transfer’, it will only lead to “more confusion and accountability is bound to suffer,” she said, adding, the ‘Janani Suraksha Yojana’ is a clear case in point. In some cases, it leads to “duplication” as the State already has such a scheme.

Urging the Prime Minister to move over to a ‘Direct Benefits Transfer’ scheme through the state governments, Jayalalitha said that the implementation of the ‘DCT’ scheme in its present form, nonetheless, “should not be operationalized in Tamil Nadu.”  
DH News Service

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