New Delhi: Giving a jolt to Congress-led UPA government over the recently announced direct cash transfer scheme, the Election Commission on Tuesday asked the Centre to defer the implementation of the proposed scheme in poll bound states.

A red faced poll panel said that the announcement of the scheme could have been avoided by the government ahead of polls in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.  

Condemning the UPA government, the commission said that the model code of conduct could have been maintained in letter and spirit by the Centre and the implementation of the scheme could have been announced after the polls.

The EC directed the government to defer its implementation in four districts of Gujarat and two districts of Himachal Pradesh.

The opposition BJP had objected to announcement of implementation of the scheme from January 1 and had petitioned before the poll panel to set aside the scheme.

Govt clarifies stand

In a communication to Election Commission, which had expressed unhappiness over the announcement of cash transfer scheme and sought an explanation, the government said the Finance Minister's Budget Speech in March this year had outlined the success of several pilots across a number of states relating to the Aadhar-based service delivery mechanism.
This only clearly established that the scheme had already been partially operationalised even prior to March 2012, the government contended.
"The present proposal to extend the pilots to 51 districts across India is the logical next step towards the implementation of this methodology of transferring benefits to at least 50 districts."This is meant to ensure that the final roll out of Direct Cash Transfers is seamless and smooth.  Thus, the proposed pilot in 51 districts is not a new scheme but an extension of the pilot already in place," the communication from the Planning Commission said.
It said that recommendations of the Task Force headed by Nandan Nilekani on IT strategy for Direct Transfer of Subsidy were made way back in February 2012.
These recommendations were accepted by the Government in March 2012, and were also announced by the Finance Minister in his Budget Speech.
"In view of all (the) above, it is stated that the announcement being objected to does not constitute a violation of the Model Code of Conduct," the Planning Commission letter said.

Clarify stand on Cash transfer: Cong asks BJP

Meanwhile, the Congress playing down all allegations, asked the BJP to clarify its stand on the direct cash transfer scheme.

“BJP must clarify that whether they favour the scheme or not,” Union Minister Manish Teewari told reporters.

SP questions timing

UPA’s outside supporter Samajwadi Party also raised questions on the timing of the announcement of the crucial scheme.

“The party is not against the cash transfer scheme, but its announcement at a time when Gujarat is going on polls raises doubts over the intention of the government,” SP leader Ramgopal Yadav said while adding, “ The announcement must had been done after the polls.”

‘Cash transfer scheme’ a bribe to voters: JD (U)

Launching scathing attacks at the government, the JD (U) raised doubts on the Congress- led-UPA government’s intentions over launching the scheme during the polls time.

The party alleged UPA of bribing the voters through the scheme.


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