Cash transfer a revolutionary measure, Food Security Bill in House soon: Sonia Gandhi

Sonia Gandhi

Backing the Centre's direct cash transfer system, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi Saturday said it was in line with other "revolutionary" measures RTI, RTE, MNREGA initiated by the UPA.

She said this after unveiling Dilli Annashree Yojana, Delhi government's ambitious food programme to transfer Rs 600 into the bank accounts of two lakh poor families. The money will go to the oldest woman in the family.

"The striking feature is that money will go in the hands of elderly females which will empower them," Sonia said, hailing the country's first Aadhaar-based cash transfer scheme. "This scheme will provide food security to those who have been left out in the BPL list for some reason or the other," she said.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit said Annashree is not a substitute for the Public Distribution System. "It was a demand of the poor to give them money so they can buy things they want at a particular time. Many a time they need flour, medicines, fruits or rice. At least they will have an option now. This is in addition to the PDS scheme we have for the BPL families," Dikshit said. "In all, around 14,000 households have been covered today. The government is keen to provide benefit to two lakh households by this year-end."

Sonia chose the occasion to highlight the Centre's Direct Benefit Transfer, which will be launched in 51 districts on January 1 and cover 34 schemes. "The purpose is to ensure government's money being disbursed in pension, scholarship, MNREGA wage payment and social benefit schemes reach the beneficiaries directly and without delay. It will reach directly in the hands of beneficiaries and not only up to bank accounts and post offices," Sonia said.

She, however, made it clear that the scheme won't cover food and fertiliser subsidy programmes.

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