The Cash Transfer Scheme announced by the Telugu Desam Party could well be the mother of all sops being offered by various political parties to woo the electorate in the ensuing Lok Sabha and assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh.
Shedding his reforms-savvy image, TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu has come out with the CTS under which money will be directly transferred to the accounts of poor families. It involves a monthly payment of Rs 2,000 for the poorest of the poor, Rs 1,500 for the poor and Rs 1,000 for middle-class households.
According to Naidu, the scheme has been envisaged to usher in a socio-economic revolution, which will ameliorate poverty, enhance literacy and lead to empowerment of women in a large way.
The TDP supremo, however, has not disclosed how much the scheme is going to cost the state exchequer.
But given that there are 20 million white ration card holders in the state and if the average monthly payment per family works out to Rs 1,500, it will cost Rs 3,000 crore per month or Rs 36,000 crore a year.
As against this, the state's budget for 2009-10 stood at Rs 1,05,144 crore.
Under the CTS, money will be directly transferred through electronic transfers to the accounts in nationalised banks, to be opened in the name of a female member in each beneficiary family.
They will also be given an electronic cash card each to enable them to withdraw the amount at any of the local banks or other authorised commercial outlets.
In fact, it was Naidu's son, Nara Lokesh, who is stated to be the brain behind the scheme. An MBA from Stanford University, Lokesh was said to have studied various models and practices followed in different countries while formulating the scheme.