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CPI to oppose direct cash transfers in parliament

Posted on Nov 28, 10:41PM | IANS

Communist Party of India leader D. Raja said Wednesday that his party was opposed to the UPA government's scheme to directly transfer cash to beneficiaries of subsidies and social schemes.

He said his party would raise the issue in parliament.

Raja, a CPI member in the Rajya Sabha, said the government had plans to extend the cash transfer scheme to food and cooking gas subsidies. This would hurt the poor, he said.

"In a country like India, the government has to give subsidy on foodgrain and fertilizers. The poor cannot be left to the mercy of market forces. The government cannot do away with subsidies. Its policies have failed," Raja said.

He said the poor get foodgrain through the public distribution system but the cash transfer scheme will weaken the PDS.

"We want to streamline and universalise PDS... Definitely, we will raise it (direct cash transfer) in parliament," Raja told IANS.

He said the government should explain how cash transfer "was not a bribe to people".

The Communist Party of India-Marxist has also opposed the direct transfer scheme, saying that the rules were weighted against the poor.

The party said in a statement that the scheme was in favour of the government's obsessive commitment to cut subsidies to working people.

Referring to the government plans to extend the cash transfer scheme to food and fertilizers, the CPI-M said the money transferred would not cover the increased costs of foodgrain.

The Congress Tuesday termed the government's big-ticket plan to directly transfer cash to various social welfare beneficiaries a "game-changer", and a "politically revolutionary" step.