Former Andhra Pradesh chief minister and Telugu Desam Party leader N Chandrababu Naidu has welcomed the "cash transfer" initiative of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, but reminded him that it was his brainchild as the TDP had promised direct cash transfer to beneficiaries in its 2009 election manifesto.
"In fact it was my son (Lokesh) who had come up with this innovative idea and had prepared a report on it," he said.
Naidu added that despite being a regional party, Telugu Desam had always come up with such novel ideas and innovative schemes to help the people, which were later adopted at the national level.
Naidu was interacting with the national media on the eve of his state wide padayatra from October 2, called "Vastunna -- mee kosam" (I am coming for you).
The 2400-km long yatra will start from Hindupur in Anantapur district on Tuesday evening and will continue for 170 days, in phases.
He strongly advocated direct transfer of cash benefits to the people, saying it will keep in check corruption and pilferages. But he demanded that the cash amount should not be fixed, instead it should be pro-rata linked to the prices.
"Today you are spending a certain amount of money on rice subsidy, but if tomorrow you give only Rs 150 per family towards the rice scheme when the price of rice keeps increasing, it will be highly unfair. This applies to fertilizer, gas and every thing else," Naidu said.
He pointed out that the Employment Guarantee Scheme had many loopholes and people working under the scheme were getting only Rs 50 to Rs 70 per day, when the promised amount was Rs 100 to Rs 150 per day.
Naidu said corruption and inefficiency had become the biggest cause of poverty and lack of development. "The purpose of my padayatra is to create awareness among the people against these problems," he said.
He exuded confidence that the TDP will come back to power in the 2014 state assembly polls.
On a question on the demand for Telangana state and the stand of the Telulgu Desam, Naidu said, "I have written a letter to the central government demanding an early all-party meeting. I will declare my stand in the meeting".
He alleged that the Congress, Telangana Rashtra Samiti and YSR Congress party were conspiring to use the Telangana issue to damage Telugu Desam Party.
"They should not use Telangana for political mileage," he said.