EC raps govt on knuckles, asks why the hurry to roll out direct cash scheme in poll season
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The poll body said its concern is only to see whether any such policy decision or announcement impacts the election in progress and whether it will disturb the level-playing field among political parties and candidates in the election fray.
"In the instant case also, the Commission's concern is limited to the above issue," the EC said.
While taking its decision, the Commission considered the reply furnished by Secretary to government of India, Planning Commission, wherein details of the scheme of Aadhar-based direct cash transfer were furnished. The Commission has also taken note of the statement made by the Finance Minister in his budget speech in March 2012.
The government told the Commission that it has already put on hold the preparatory work for implementation of cash transfer scheme till election process is over in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
The reason for deferment is that the government machinery is tied up with the election process, the sources said, insisting that it was not done at the behest of EC.
The election body had conveyed its unhappiness to the Centre over the announcement of the scheme when the model code is in force and had sought a report on it from the Cabinet Secretary in a strongly-worded communication.
In its reply, the government yesterday justified the announcement of its scheme, saying it does not constitute violation of the model code and does not contain anything new that was not in this year's budget.
The government said no announcement of any financial grant or a new promise in the nature of a financial benefit has been announced after the coming into force of the model code and that no eligible beneficiary will receive any additional entitlement than he/she was already entitled to under identified schemes.
BJP had objected to the government announcement and had petitioned the poll authority to set aside the scheme.
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