New Delhi: CPI(M) has questioned the legality of the government`s cash transfer scheme, saying the law on which the programme is based has not yet been passed by Parliament.
"It should be underlined that the legality of this scheme is yet to be procured through a law enacted by Parliament. The legislation, `The National Identification Authority of India Bill 2010`, is pending before Parliament," senior party leader Sitaram Yechury said.
He said the scheme was launched with "much fanfare", by Finance Minister P Chidambaram in the Congress office before the Gujarat Assembly polls. Initially, it had the slogan `aap ka paisa, aap ke haath` which appeared as "a bribe to the people, keeping the 2014 general elections in mind," he said.
Observing that the bill was sent to the Standing Committee, Yechury said the parliamentary panel submitted its report in September 2011 which asked the government to "reconsider and review the UID scheme as also the proposals contained in the bill in all its ramifications and bring forth a fresh legislation before Parliament."
Writing in CPI(M) organ `People`s Democracy`, he quoted the report as saying that "in view of the concerns and apprehensions about UID scheme, particularly considering the contradictions and ambiguities within the government on its implementation as well as implications, the committee categorically convey their unacceptability of the bill in its present form."
Yechury referred to cash transfer schemes in Brazil and Mexico, "often flaunted" by the government as success stories, and said, "Cash transfers had not replaced the existing subsidies or schemes. They were an additional benefit.
"In India, the first inkling of replacing the existing schemes through such cash transfers came as early as in the 2011 budget.
"The basic philosophy behind this scheme is that over a period of time, the government will dismantle all its obligations in the social sector. Cash transfers will automatically and continuously reduce the government`s subsidy bill" because of price rise and reduction in quantities available to people, he said.