It is one billboard that will announce all the welfare schemes of the UPA government. This will reduce the burden of explaining each and every populist measure and the direct cash transfer scheme is consolidation of vote bank by the Congress.
If Narendra Modi has booked his victory on development projects, the Congress wants to cash in on cash transfers. This precisely is the reason that makes the lawyer-turned-ministers of the UPA to argue for it over the timing and the scope.
There is no doubt about announcement date being in September. But wait for two months to unveil details and that too at a big function. Surely, the poll season was the cause of the implementation.
Forget the ground realities, even Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram with a pragmatic approach has called it magic. However, its success depends on cooperation from the panchayat to the national level given the role of local and state governments in implementation of most centrally sponsored schemes.
The problems include identification of genuine beneficiaries, technological and structural reach, apart from stakeholders' education.
But with a firm belief in the benefits of the direct cash, the government has told election authorities that it had not violated any election code of conduct.
"While people are reeling under inflation, the Congress is only making efforts to take political mileage for nothing," BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said.
The BJP had written to the Election Commission saying the government should withdraw the announcement of the plan until the polls were over in the two states.
Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal said the decision of cash transfers was only an "implementation of an announcement that has already been made".
Under the scheme, money meant for recipients of 29 welfare programmes - mainly related to scholarships and pensions - will be transferred to bank accounts linked to their unique identification numbers in 51 districts spread over 16 states from January.
The scheme will cover the entire country by the end of 2013. Authorities say it will be a potential game-changer, bringing the country's poorest citizens into the mainstream.
Meanwhile, Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tewari said, "The BJP should make its position clear on cash transfers. Are they for cash transfers or are they against it. Do they want that the money of the people should go directly into the hands of the people or they do not want the money of the people to go to the people, this is the germane issue."
Hitting back at Congress, BJP spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad questioned the party's seriousness on the issue. "Is Congress serious about it? Have they done their homework well?" Prasad countered, saying that his party had formed a committee to study the matter and would revert after a report was prepared.