The Congress and the BJP on Monday traded barbs over the government’s direct cash transfer scheme after the Election Commission sought a reply from the Centre on the timing of the announcement.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said the government would provide information to the EC and asked the BJP to make clear its stance on the scheme.
“The BJP should make its position clear on cash transfers. Are they for cash transfers or are they against it.
Do they want that the 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, this is the germane issue,” Mr. Tewari told reporters here.
“If the Election Commission has asked the government for a clarification or for some sort of an explanation, I am sure that the appropriate part of the government would provide that information to the Election Commission,” Mr. Tewari said.
BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad hit back by questioning the Congress’ seriousness on the issue.
“Is the Congress serious about it? Have they done their homework well?” Prasad asked and said that his party had formed a committee to study the entire matter and would revert on the matter after that.
He, however, said that BJP was not for abolition of the Public Distribution System and also questioned why the pilot project for direct cash transfer scheme in Rajasthan did not succeed.
“But one thing is very clear and categorical. If this means the abolition of Public Distribution System, BJP is opposed to it because states like Madhya Pradesh, states like Chattisgarh... Bihar and others have done so well. By the way let Manish Tewari respond to one thing, the fanfare with which it (cash transfer scheme) was inaugurated in Rajasthan, why it has come a cropper,” Mr. Prasad asked.