New Delhi: Rejecting the "notion" that the direct cash transfer scheme would abdicate government`s commitment to welfare state, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Thursday said it is an answer to the "incompetent Army of corrupt delivery agents".
Ramesh also termed as "ludicrous and bogus" Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal`s argument that this programme is a "bribe giving" one.
"We are not abdicating principles of welfare state. We are just saying that instruments of the welfare state, which are subsidy, scholarships or pensions are better delivered through this system. I fail to see how an army of intermediaries corrupt at every level can stand for a welfare state," he said addressing an international workshop on direct cash transfers here.
"Having the notion that Army of delivery agents and we can have plethora of delivery systems all of whom have proven their incompetence and their insensitivity. But somehow they are seem to be symbols of welfare state," Ramesh said, referring to former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi`s observation that 85 percent of money released from Delhi never reached the beneficiaries.
Referring to Kejriwal`s allegation that this programme is a "bribe giving" one, the Minister said he found it "very odd" and "benefit transfer is not a gift we are giving”.
"It is an entitlement that we are acknowledging and I fail to see how the delivery of an entitlement whether the scholarship or pension or subsidy can be construed as a bribe. I think the bribe argument is ludicrous and bogus argument," he said.
"In fact it is to make the welfare state more efficient that you are going to the direct benefit transfer," he added.
The ambitious direct cash transfer scheme will be officially launched from January one next year. The programme covering 29 welfare schemes initially will be experimented in 51 districts across the country.