New Delhi: Then finance minister Pranab Mukherjee had dealt with the direct cash transfer scheme in his budget speech earlier this year and the government had on September 28 issued a press release on it, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said Monday.

"I think the issue of cash transfers was dealt within the budget speech of former finance minister Pranab Mukherjee in March this year and the government had given a press release on September 28," Tewari told reporters.

The government has to explain its position on cash transfers to the Election Commission, which has sought a reply by Monday why the scheme was announced last week.

The government claims it will help millions in villages to receive their monthly honoraria in time. The BJP has complained to the poll panel that the scheme was announced ahead of the Gujarat assembly polls Dec 13 and 17.

The poll panel has asked Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth to respond by Monday evening to the BJP's complaint against the announcement on direct cash transfers made last week.

"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," Tewari told reporters.

The minister took potshots at the BJP and asked: "Do they want that money of the people should go directly into the hands of the people or they do not want the money of the people to go to the people?"


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