BJP scrambles to counter Cong cash transfer move
The BJP, which has opposed the government’s reforms in multi-brand retail and insurance and pension funds, discussed the cash transfer scheme at its parliamentary party meeting, with members commending the idea and making suggestions on how to make it work in the long-term.
Some leaders said the NDA government had made similar attempts to directly transferring cash for food subsidies.
The scramble within the main opposition party coincided with what appeared to be the political launch of the ambitious scheme. Finance Minister P Chidambaram and Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh Tuesday shared details of the programme at a press conference at the party headquarters, with Chidambaram stressing that there was no politics behind the programme.
But Ramesh seemed to hint at the programme’s political subtext when he coined the slogan, “aapka paisa, aapke haath” (your money in your hands) for the cash transfer scheme.
Ramesh said the programme aimed to fulfill the Congress’s promise made in its manifesto ahead of the 2009 Lok Sabha elections. “It is not just a government programme, it is a revolutionary political movement,” he said.
The government’s plan is to transfer the benefits of welfare schemes such as scholarships and old-age pensions directly to the poor through Aadhaar-enabled bank accounts