Chhattisgarh CM opposes plan panel policies

In his letter, Montek Singh has opposed cash transfer for Chhattisgarh and said it may lead to new set of problems within existing PDS system.

Updated: Nov 18, 2011, 16:48 PM IST

New Delhi: Chhattisgarh on Friday opposed
Centre`s cash transfer scheme to poor families and made it
clear it will not implement it in the state.

"I have strongly opposed it. I am against the provision
of cash transfer. It is not in favour of poor people. It is
against the nation and administration I do not want any such
policy in the country," Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman
Singh told PTI.
Strongly opposing the system under which poor will
directly get subsidy in cash, he said, "If you have to do cash
transfer then there is no need to introduce Food Safety Act.
Like you give money to Below Poverty lines (BPL) families or
through old age pensions and in widow pension, similarly you
can add this amount (cash subsidy) and give it. Then, there is
no need for the Food Safety Act."

Singh, whose government runs a large online PDS monitoring
scheme, has written a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
and Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh
Ahluwalia opposing the cash transfer proposal and some of the
provisions in the centrally-run schemes and asked for ways to
strengthen them.

"I have written to the Prime Minister and Montek Singh. I
have said it is your compulsion that you cannot make a system
for it (providing cash subsidy) and you have to decide on its
solution. But I will not do cash transfer as the state
government is already providing a subsidy for it," Singh, a
member of Planning Commission`s working group on food and
public distribution, said.

In his letter, Singh has opposed cash transfer for
Chhattisgarh saying, "It may lead to new set of problems
within existing PDS system."

"Cash subsidy model will adversely affect procurement of
food grain at Minimum Support Price from the farmers in the
country and also create problems of availability of food grain
in scheduled (tribal sub plan) areas, among other
complications," Singh said.

He has suggested ways to strengthen PDS system through
computerisation and bringing reforms in storage system for
food articles.

"The eligible beneficiaries identified by the state
government should be agreed as BPL families by the Government
of India and allocation should be made accordingly," Singh
said in the letter which was also sent to the Deputy Chairman
of plan panel and Food and Public Distribution Minister KV
Thomas.

He said that Chhattisgarh has taken many steps to check
leakage in PDS and same reforms can be adopted by the Centre.

"We have reformed the system (PDS). We have worked for
three four years to bring in reforms. In last three-four
years, we have not received a single complaint (of leakage),"
the Chief Minister of the BJP ruled state said.

Singh said the government has cancelled three lakh fake
ration cards and provided subsidy to fair-price shops for the
betterment of poor people.

"Because of these reforms, we have saved about Rs 200-300
crore and there are no complaints of any misuse so far," he
added.

PTI