EC to take final call on UPA's cash transfer scheme today

Last Updated: Tue, Dec 04, 2012 05:30 hrs

The Election Commission (EC) will on Tuesday decide whether the Central Government violated the rules by announcing the direct cash transfer scheme when the Model Code in poll-bound Gujarat is in force.

The Election Commission, which had conveyed its unhappiness to the government over the announcement of its direct cash transfer scheme, had sought a report on the issue by Monday evening.

The government has submitted its reply to Election Commission's notice on the issue, saying it has not violated any election code of conduct.

In its reply, the government has said it has not violated any Model Code of Conduct in connection with its ambitious direct cash transfer scheme as it was announced in the Budget speech by the then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal yesterday said direct cash transfer is only an implementation of an announcement that has already been made.

"The government would file a detailed reply on the questions raised by the Election Commission on the issue," he added.

Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari also defended the government, and lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) asking it to make its stand clear on the issue of cash transfers

"The BJP should make its position clear on cash transfers. Are they for cash transfers or are they against it? The more relevant and germane question is which I think is the political question, which the BJP should answer that why are they scared of cash transfers. 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?" asked Tewari.

"That is the germane issue and I think the Bharatiya Janata Party needs to reply to the people of this country as to where do they stand on this particular question," he added.

Senior BJP leaders, led by Lal Krishna Advani, had earlier last week filed a complaint with the Commission alleging that the announcement of the direct cash transfer scheme violates the Model Code of Conduct.

Gujarat goes to polls in two phases on December 13 and 17 and the Model Code is in force in the state. Incidentally, four of the 51 districts in which the cash transfer scheme is to be implemented from January 1 fall in Gujarat.

The government had earlier furnished the outline of its ambitious direct cash transfer scheme, with Finance Minister P. Chidambaram terming it as a big 'game changer'.

According to the government, almost Rs 3,20,000 crore cash transfer scheme will be launched in stages and cover the entire country by the end of 2013. (ANI)

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