Chennai: Raising strong objections to certain aspects of Centre's Direct Benefits Transfer, Tamil Nadu chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Saturday said the scheme in its present form should "not be operationalised" in the state as it is an "infringement" on the authority of state governments. In a strongly worded letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Jayalalithaa wondered if the state governments were expected to look on as mere "bystanders", far removed from the process of administering the scheme, after having placed their entire field machinery at the disposal of the Centre.
"This is clearly an infringement of the authority of the state governments and totally violative of the federal polity of the country and the spirit of democratic decentralisation," she said. If the intention of the Centre in introducing the scheme was to ensure efficient delivery, then it should route funds through state government, which she said was already progressively switching over to the bank mode of disbursement for all its beneficiary oriented schemes.
The Centre should confine itself to monitoring implementation, she said while urging it to give up moving Direct Cash Transfer of subsidy for PDS and fertilizer and kerosene subsidy. "Therefore, until our serious concerns are addressed, clarity is provided and a consensus is reached on the manner of transfer of resources to the state government for disbursement to beneficiary bank accounts, the implementation of the Central Direct Benefits Transfer in its present form should not be operationalised in Tamil Nadu," she said.
If the scheme is implemented through the state govenment, it would enable their rightful place as equal partners in the governance of the country and not reduce them to becoming "vassals" in the structure of governance, she said. Jayalalithaa said her government was equally opposed to direct transfer of cash to bank accounts of beneficiaries by the Centre bypassing the state government altogether. "This is neither an administratively sound practice nor in keeping with the spirit of federalism and democratic decentralisation enshrined in the Constitution," she argued.