Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Thursday described the Central government’s recent initiative - Direct Cash Transfer — as a shortsighted one.
“The direct cash transfer mechanism is being touted as a ‘game changer’ and a panacea for all ills. This is unjustified and shortsighted and reveals how little the Central Government understands ground-level realities,” the Chief Minister said while addressing the National Development Council meeting at New Delhi.
Jayalalithaa said the cash transfer mechanism would not work for certain initiatives like the Public Distribution System and the fertiliser subsidy scheme, under which, ensuring availability of food grains and fertilisers was much more crucial to preserving food security than transferring cash.
“It is almost as if the Centre is trying to abdicate its responsibility and just throw money around, instead of addressing real issues of availability,” she added.
She also pointed out that for other transfers, like pensions and scholarships, Tamil Nadu had attempted to operate through banks.
“However, the banking system, which is entirely under the control of the Centre, is yet to provide the crucial last mile connectivity to scheme beneficiaries without imposing hardships and costs on them. Further, the implementation of the ‘Aadhaar’ scheme is getting more and more politicised and the rollout delayed. This will not lead to the desired outcomes,” she said.
With regard to the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS), the CM said, “though the State has been implementing the scheme well, we recognise that it has many flaws. MGNREGS should be used as an instrument to generate skills and employment opportunities in key sectors, including agriculture, and for asset creation in rural areas.” There ought to be a scheme holiday in the peak agricultural season, she said, adding that the scheme should also be more flexibile in project selection and mode of operation.