Jairam Ramesh criticises Kejriwal for terming cash transfer scheme as bribe

New Delhi, Nov 29 (ANI): Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday criticised Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal for terming the direct cash transfer scheme as 'bribe'.

Considering Kejriwal's bribe argument as ludicrous, Ramesh said the transfer is not a gift that is given, but an entitlement that is being acknowledged.

"There will of course be a lot of questions that will be raised. One question of course is that are we giving bribes? I find Mr. Kejriwal today has accused, has described this programme as a 'Bribe Giving Programme'," he said

"But I find it very odd that an entitlement transfer or a benefit transfer is not a gift that we are giving, it is entitlement that we are acknowledging and I fail to see how the delivery of an entitlement whether it is a scholarship or a pension or a subsidy can constitute as a bribe. So, I think this bribe argument is a ludicrous bogus argument," he added.

Ramesh also said that the aim was to ensure that the instruments of the welfare state are better delivered through a new system.

"The notion that by going to direct benefit transfer, we are abdicating the commitment to the welfare state is completely wrong, is completely mistaken. In fact it is to make the welfare state more efficient that you are going for direct benefit transfer. You are not abdicating the principles of welfare state. You are just saying that the instruments of the welfare state, which is the subsidy or the scholarships or pensions, are better delivered through a new system and I fail to see how an army of intermediaries corrupt at every level can stand for a welfare state," he added.

Ramesh further stated that they are embarking upon a developmental intervention.

"This notion that centralized databases will automatically to control and surveillance results from a profound misunderstanding, a fundamental misunderstanding of the route that we have taken. It is true that in other parts of the world, in many countries of the world the biometric and for databases have been used for law and order and for non-developmental purposes but remember that what we are embarking upon here is a developmental intervention," Ramesh stated.

Kejriwal said on Wednesday that the scheme might put an end to some leakages but it is undesirable.

"The timing is questionable. This is a way of giving bribe to voters," he told reporters when asked about the government's decision to launch its new flagship programme of direct cash transfer from January 1 next year.

He said the rationale is wrong in ending public distribution system and giving cash to people. "You end ration and give them cash. This does not take into account price rise," he said. (ANI)