Yashwant Sinha says 'cash transfer scheme a pure election stunt'
Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Yashwant Sinha on Wednesday lashed out at the ruling Congress Party for announcing the cash transfer scheme in its headquarter and linking it with Rahul Gandhi, saying this move is a pure election stunt aimed at the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
Sinha said it is very astonishing that this scheme was announced by two senior ministers of the government at the Congress Party's headquarter and not in Press Information Bureau (PIB).
"Is it a Congress Party scheme or is it a government scheme. The line dividing the party and the government has been completely obfuscated, obliterated and there is now no distinction between the government and the Congress Party," said Sinha.
"The ministers are saying that Rahul Gandhi and his workers in the Congress Party will monitor the implementation of the scheme. Again the question arises is it a Congress Party scheme or is it a government scheme. If it's a government scheme and money is going to come out of government coffers, then how can Rahul Gandhi implement it? What is the role of MPs and MLAs and other elected representatives in this? We have no role. The Congress Party is using this as in case of MNREGA as a pure election stunt," he added.
Sinha alleged that the main concern of the ruling Congress Party is to somehow win or influence the next Lok Sabha elections and not the welfare of the common people of the country.
"They are being childish as far as the implementation is concerned. And their motivation is purely political, not the welfare of the poor of this country," he added.
Sinha, however, termed the cash transfer scheme to be a very good scheme.
"The cash transfer scheme was announced yesterday by two ministers of the government. We have been in favour of this scheme; it's a good scheme. We had thought about it ourselves when we were in government, but it was not possible to implement it because it needed a lot of IT backbone to be able to implement it," said Sinha, who was the Finance Minister of the country during the NDA regime.
Sinha further said the announcement of this scheme should have been made in Parliament, as the session is on.
"Now, the announcement has been made. The first question, which comes to mind is, is it a Congress Party scheme or is it a government scheme? Because if it's a government scheme, then Parliament is in session and the announcement should have been made by the government in Parliament, especially if the ministers of the government are describing it as a game changer which means it is a major policy announcement," said Sinha.
"And if Parliament is in session, why should a major policy announcement not be made in Parliament. This is a breach of privilege of the Parliament of India," he added.
Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh announced this scheme at the Congress Party's platform yesterday, which indicated that the cash transfer scheme would be among the party's points for the next Lok Sabha polls.
Ramesh introduced this scheme with the punch line 'Aapka paisa, aapke haath', which appeared to be in tune with the Congress Party's election manifesto 'Congress ka haath, aam aadmi ke saath'. He said Rahul Gandhi would hold a conference of district Congress committee presidents of 51 districts identified for the first-phase rollout from 2013.
Chidambaram on his part said benefits under 29 welfare schemes being operated by different ministries would be transferred through Aadhaar-enabled bank accounts in 51 districts spread over 16 states from January 1 next year.
He said that the government's decision to launch the Aadhar-based direct cash transfer scheme for beneficiaries of subsidised items would be a game changer in the country.
Chidambaram said the Aadhar-based direct subsidy transfer rollout will be completed throughout India by the end of 2013, which will also include 42 new schemes.
He said the first phase of the cash transfer of subsidy would benefit ten million households.
Under the scheme, cash transfers will be in the range of Rs.30, 000 to Rs. 40,000 on a yearly basis. Overall, Rs.3, 20,000 crore will be distributed.
Aadhar must be linked to bank account for scheme to work, as users might not be prudent with cash management.
Chidambaram also said that there will be no leakage in the system and factors such as falsification and duplication will be eliminated.
Aadhaar, a 12-digit number, serves as a proof of identity and address anywhere in the country. The UIDAI has already issued 21 crore Aadhaar cards.