Andhra Pradesh Vyavasaya Karmika Sangham (VKS) has strongly opposed the direct cash transfer scheme saying that it has been designed only to weaken and eliminate the Public Distribution System.
Addressing the inaugural of the Sangham’s district-level meeting here on Saturday, its president P. Muralikrishna said that if the scheme was brought into effect, prices of essential commodities would not be within the reach of the common man.
The sincerity of the Congress-led UPA government could be gauzed from the fact that the Food Security Act, though enacted four years ago, was not yet executed, he said.
Demanding the Centre to supply a bouquet of 14 essential commodities through the PDS instead of implementing the direct cash transfer scheme as the former would be more useful to the poor and downtrodden.
‘Lacking in commitment’
He said that the State government lacked the commitment to carry out the Employment Guarantee Scheme (EGS) as though it had allocated Rs.7.400 crore for the scheme it spent only Rs.4,500 crore.
Mr. Muralikrishna said that last year, over 45 lakh hectares of arable land was left barren as there was no sufficient rainfall resulting in severe unemployment in rural areas. Therefore, more funds needed to be allocated and spent under the EGS to provide wage employment. Minimum wage for EGS workers should also be increased from Rs.149 to Rs.200 per day.
The VKS leader also urged the Centre to decide a minimum pension of Rs.1,000 per month to elderly people. The Centre hiked the pension from Rs.200 to Rs.300 and wanted the State government to release an equal amount, but the latter failed to respond, he added.
Centre urged to supply 14 essential commodities through the PDS as it will be more useful