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Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has supported the proposed cash transfer of subsidies to beneficiaries, but called the central government's efforts half hearted. Kumar also demanded to link subsidies with prices of the commodities.
"We fully support the principle of cash transfer of subsidies directly to the beneficiary. This helps in curbing corruption to a great extent. Bihar has been quite successful in this. We provide cash subsidies under our bicycle and uniform schemes for school going children," the chief minister told Business Standard.
"However", he added, "the central government's efforts are half hearted. Take the case of cash subsidy under Sarv Shkisha Abhiyan. Recently, under this scheme the central government has decided to provide uniforms to students up to 8th standard. For this cash will be given to a committee, which will then provide uniforms to students. This is a very complicated process and creates space for corruption. I will personally take this matter up with the Prime Minister as this has hindered an ongoing scheme of the state government."
The Chief Minister also demanded to give cash transfer of food and fertilizer subsidy. Kumar said, "Central government should also provide cash subsidies on food items and fertilizer. This will help poor and farmers. It should also make subsidies price linked. The prices never stay constant. So, a fixed subsidy scheme will never help the needy. The central government must create a system, under which subsidies can be linked with the price of commodities."
He also brushed aside the criticism of the proposed scheme and praised the cash transfer.
The CM stated, "The cash transfer curbs corruption. We have a very good experience in this regard. However, there are some problems by linking this with banks or post offices. The best way to bypass this problem is to give the cash directly to the people.