Says it will not amount to corrupting the minds of the people

The Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office, V. Narayanasamy, on Sunday said direct cash transfer scheme would not amount to corrupting the minds of the people.

When his attention was drawn by reporters to the objections from Opposition parties to the scheme, which is to be implemented in 51 districts across the country on a pilot basis, he wondered how the Opposition could describe it as an attempt to bribe the people when the scheme was aimed at preventing the pilferage in reaching out the welfare schemes directly to the beneficiaries.

“It is a well thought-out scheme and the best possible option to take the benefits directly to the people,” he said.

While stating that the Centre was committed to implementing the scheme in a time-bound manner, Mr. Narayanasamy said the PMO had given clear instructions to Ministries concerned to take steps to expedite the implementation.

Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram had also been working on it. Since it was a pilot scheme, a few shortcomings were bound to crop up during the initial stages. But they could be corrected, he said.

To a question, Mr. Narayanasamy said the scheme was not introduced keeping an eye on Gujarat elections. He pointed out that though the Central government had been implementing many schemes, including the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, several State governments were hoodwinking the beneficiaries by claiming the schemes to be theirs. Moreover, there was mounting criticism that in spite of various schemes, the targeted beneficiaries were not getting the intended benefit fully. The cash transfer scheme would address all the issues.

On nationwide criticism for registering cases for posting comments on Facebook and other social network sites that it was curtailing the freedom of expression, the Minister said though the Congress was fully committed to ensure freedom of speech and expression, the right of privacy of individuals should also be respected. Defamatory comments on such networking sites should not affect the individuals. The Centre was working on drafting the Right to Privacy Act to address all the issues, including individual and common rights.