Jayalalithaa questions direct cash transfer scheme

Chennai, April 27 (IANS) Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Saturday told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the direct benefits transfer scheme infringes on the authority of state governments and makes them just bystanders.

In a letter to Manmohan Singh, Jayalalithaa – referring to the utilisation of the state government for implementing the direct benefits transfer scheme said: “This is clearly an infringement of the authority of the state governments and totally violative of the federal polity of the country and the spirit of democratic decentralisation.”

“Are state governments expected to look on as mere bystanders, far removed from the process of administering the scheme, after having placed their entire field machinery at the disposal of the government of India?” she said in the letter, referring to the instructions and guidelines issued by the Planning Commission relating to the scheme.

According to her, the districts of Ariyalur, Pudukottai and Tiruchirapalli are to be included in the first phase rollout of the scheme in Tamil Nadu from July.

Jayalalithaa voiced her opposition to monetize and transfer in cash the subsidy element in the public distribution system, fertiliser, kerosene, cooking gas and others, where access and timely availability of the commodities is more important than the subsidy quantum.

The chief minister also said that the state government has reservations about the design of the 25 schemes identified for the second phase roll out of direct benefits transfer scheme.

She said many of them are small and pilot schemes and in some schemes the centre and the state share the cost.

“In such cases, if the government of India insists on direct benefits transfer for its share, it will lead to more confusion and accountability is bound to suffer,” she said.

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