Direct Cash Transfers: Govt to explain
The government on Monday said it will give a clarification to the Election Commission of India in connection with its Direct Cash Transfers scheme.
Information and Broadcasting Minister ManishTewari told media: "If the Election Commission has asked the government for a clarification or for some sort of an explanation, I am sure that the appropriate part of the government would provide that information to the Election Commission."
Defending the announcement of the scheme, he said: " If I was to recollect correctly, I think the former finance minister in his budget speech on the 16th of March 2012, para-23, 24, 25, 26, if I remember correctly had possibly dealt extenso with the entire issue of cash transfers."
"I think there was also some press release by the government on the 28th of September 2012 on the same issue. So, therefore while I am not second guessing what the government would like to tell the Election Commission in this regard, but there seems to be a certain amount of work which has been done in the past," Tewari said.
Conveying its unhappiness over the government's announcement of its Direct Cash Transfers Scheme at a time when Model Code in poll- bound Gujarat is in force, the Election Commission of India on Sunday sought a report from the Centre in connection to the matter by Monday evening.
The Election Commission of India also warned of taking action if the Centre failed to give reply within the deadline, reports said.
The Election Commission of India shot the letter to Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth.
Pertinently, adding pressure on the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government over its Direct Cash Transfers scheme, India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday moved the Election Commission in order to lodge a protest over the decision taken by the Centre.
Questioning the timing of the announcement of the scheme before the upcoming Assembly polls in Gujarat, senior BJP leaders LK Advani, Sushma Swaraj and Arun Jaitley demanded its withdrawal.
Urging Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath to take a proper decision on the matter, the BJP delegation gave a memorandum to him.
The memorandum said: "We request the Commission to direct the government to withdraw the announcement and defer it to an appropriate time after the completion of the election process in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh."
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Advani said: "We have discussed the issue. It was a good discussion."
"The Election Commission has given us assurance that all the issues raised by us will be taken care of before taking a proper decision in this matter," he said.
Advani said: "The cash transfer scheme that was announced a few days ago should be for the entire country. But they should have excluded the states where elections are due to be held."
"In case you make an announcement earlier then the party in power at the Centre can benefit," he said.