With his mother Sonia Gandhi entrusting him with the responsibility for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections campaign, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi has taken up the cash transfer scheme — ‘aap ka paisa, aap ke haath’ as the route to success. For nearly two hours, Rahul interacted with the district congress presidents from 51 districts that will witness the roll out of the scheme from January 1.
Union ministers P Chidambaram, and Jairam Ramesh who had earlier unveiled this project labelled as a ‘political game changer’ also addressed the crucial meeting. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Ramesh said Rahul conveyed to the party members at the grass-roots that the introduction of direct cast transfer would eliminate corruption in the disbursement of scholarships, pension, and the wages under the NREGA scheme.
"We all know that of the Re1 that the government sends for the individual beneficiary, only 15ps actually reach the person. With this direct cash transfer, all the corruption in the intermediate stages would be eliminated and the money will reach the hands of the beneficiaries," he said.
The Congress hopes that with crores of people directly getting the benefits regularly through this last mile intervention, it can reap a rich political harvest in the next elections.
Rahul Gandhi is reported to have impressed upon the district congress presidents to keep a close watch on the implementation of the scheme in their areas and smoothen out the initial rough edges.
Even as Ramesh stressed on the political mileage that could be had from the scheme, Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi insisted that this was just a change in the system and there was no politics in it.
Giving details of the preparations for the scheme, Ramesh informed that Aadhar card which is the basis for the identification of the beneficiaries has been issued to more than 80% of the eligible persons in most of the 51 districts. "The work of providing the cards to the remaining persons in the different districts is being expedited," he added.
He said that over the next nine to 12 months, the direct cash transfer scheme would be extended to kerosene, LPG and fertiliser subsidy as well. "In the first stage, the government will not have any savings, but when the next stage is reached it should save about 40% on the aggregate outgo of Rs1 lakh 40 thousand crore Subsidy Bill," he added.
Ramesh said the introduction of items supplied through the public distribution system under the cash transfer scheme is not being considered in the near future. "This is not on cards for another three years," he informed.