New Delhi: The government on Monday replied to the Election Commission's (EC) notice questioning the timing of the direct cash transfer scheme, saying that the decision had been announced first in March 2012 by then Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee during the Budget speech. The Election Commission had sought a report from the Cabinet Secretary on Sunday alleging that the timing of the implementation of the scheme was suspect, coming as it was just days before the Gujarat polls.
The Centre in its reply said that while the first announcement was made in March this year, the first press release on the matter from the PMO was issued on September 28, where as the date for the Gujarat elections were announced only later on October 3, which is when the Model Code of Conduct came into force.
"It is submitted that 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 of Conduct on 3rd October, 2012," the government statement said.
"It is further clarified that no eligible beneficiary will receive any additional entitlement than he/she is already entitled to under identified schemes. There is no increase in the number of beneficiaries under the various schemes of the Central Government where direct cash transfers are proposed to be introduced," the statement added.
The EC has said that it will decide on the matter on Tuesday.