Skip to main content

Jharkhand starvation deaths: Result of fake savings by cancelling jobs, ration cards, pensions not linked to aadhaar

By Our Representative
Amidst news of yet another starvation death in Jharkhand (click HERE), the Right to Food Campaign, Jharkhand, has said that recent investigations by it has revealed “a clear and disturbing pattern” of the manner in which aadhaar has ended up excluding people from rations, pensions and jobs, generating “fake savings” in the bargain.
“The pattern”, says the top campaign organizations, is as follows: First the authorities “cancel the job cards, ration cards or pensions not linked with aadhaar”, after which they “declare that the concerned persons or cards were fake”; and then comes the final step – to count the money being saved as “savings due to aadhaar”.
Noting how in Jharkhand the rural jobs scheme NREGA cards have been cancelled in large numbers to meet “100% aadhaar seeding” targets, the NGO says, this was admitted by the secretary, rural development, at a meeting with the chief secretary on November 2, 2015, when he admitted that job cards not linked aadhaar had been cancelled “to increase the rate of aadhaar seeding of NREGA workers.”
Pointing out that the statement is recorded “in the minutes of a meeting with the chief secretary Jharkhand on November 2, 2015”, the NGO states, “In April 2017, the Central government claimed that nearly 1 crore ‘fake job cards’ had been cancelled with the help of aadhaar.”
Santoshi Kumari
“However”, it underlines, “In response to a Right to Information (RTI) query, the Central government later gave a breakdown of the reasons for cancellation – ‘fakes’ and ‘duplicates’ accounted for only 12.6% of all cancelled cards, or less than 1% of all job cards.”
Revealing that last year aadhaar-less ration cards were “cancelled en masse in Jharkhand”, the campaign body says, “On September 22, 2017, the Jharkhand government claimed that 11 lakh fake ration cards had been cancelled thanks to aadhaar.”
“But”, it notes, “Verification in Latehar and Khunti showed that most of the cancelled ration cards are not fake. Many of them belong to families that were unable to link their ration card with aadhaar. One of these families was that of Santoshi Kumari, the 11-year old girl who died of hunger in Simdega district last September.”
Also disputing the Jharkhand government claim that 2 lakh “fake” pensioners had been removed from the pension lists with the help of aadhaar, the NGO says, “A verification of about 100 cancelled pensions in Khunti revealed that few of them – if any – were fake. Many belonged to people who had simply not been unable to link their pension with aadhaar.”
“In October 2016”, the NGO notes, “The district administration in Khunti (and perhaps elsewhere in Jharkhand too) stopped paying social security pension to those who had failed to link their aadhaar with bank account and pension list. Some of them were able to do so later, and their pension resumed, but they lost the payments due to them in the intervening period. Others are still struggling…”
Pointing out that last year between September and December 2017 at least four persons died due to starvation – Santoshi Kumari, Ruplal Marandi, Premani Kunwar and Etwariya Devi – the NGO states, this is the “direct result of the action and inaction of the state government and the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI).”
Etwariya Devi
Claiming that it has put forward “clear evidence” that these deaths were due to the stopping of their legally entitled rations and old-age pensions because of aadhaar related issues, the NGO regrets, “The state government has ignored evidence that the mandatory linking of aadhaar to welfare entitlements has caused exclusion of the most vulnerable citizens.”
“Moreover”, it adds, the UIDAI has “refused to take any action against those responsible for scores of violations of people’s legal entitlements to social welfare due to aadhaar”.
Noting that “this exclusion has been deceitfully projected to the public, Parliament and the Supreme Court by dressing these cases of aadhaar-driven exclusion as deletions of ‘fake persons’ and ‘savings’ of public funds”, the NGO believes, “The Jharkhand government and UIDAI should surely be charged for criminal negligence leading to death, and for the criminal offence of dishonesty and an intention to deceive.”

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

"Misleading" satellite images being shared on Balakot surgical strike on Jaish camp

By Dr Vinay Kate*
With every passing day more questions are being raised about the surgical strike India did in Balakot as a response to Pulwama attacks. So far the Indian media has claimed mass casulaty of 300+ terrorists of Jaish-e-Mohammad in this surgical strike, but there is hardly any report from foreign media about the same.

Extreme repression, corporate loot, cultural genocide "characterise" India's tribal belt

Counterview Desk
As Lok Sabha polls approach, there is considerable ferment in one section of the population -- India's Adivasis, forming about 8.6 per cent of India's population. Things became particularly critical following the February 14, 2019 Supreme Court order, allegedly seeking to evict lakhs of tribals from their forest lands.

Industry in India "barely growing", export growth 0%, whither moral anchors?

Counterview Desk
In a sharp critique of the Modi government, the Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A), one of world renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu, who is Professor of Economics and Carl Marks Professor of International Studies at Cornell University, has told students at the IIM-A’s 54th Annual Convocation on March 16, 2019 that they have a “special responsibility” on their shoulders, “the responsibility to reject narrow sectarianism, uphold scientific thinking, openness to new ideas, and freedom of speech.”

Congress would win just 9 of 26 Lok Sabha seats: Gujarat Assembly segment-wise analysis

By Rajiv Shah
Even as the Congress plans its first working committee meet in Gujarat on February 28 after an almost 58 year gap, there is reason to wonder what is in store for India’s grand old party in a state which has been long been a BJP bastion – in fact ever since mid-1990s. Ahead of the then assembly polls in late 2012, talking with me, a senior Gujarat Congress leader, currently Rajya Sabha MP, frankly said he saw no reason why Congress would win.

Gujarat model? Industrial effluents "invade" borewells, discharge coloured water in farms

By Rajiv Shah
In a major embarrassment for Gujarat model, of the 21 samples taken by officials of the state government's environmental watchdog Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) in two villages of Vadodara district and analyzed by its laboratory in Gandhinagar, the state capital, to find out pollution level in groundwater, 16 were assessed as highly contaminated – these were, in fact, found to be discharging reddish, brownish, reddish, or yellowish water.

Financial inclusion? Not micro-loans; India's poor "need" investment in health, education

By Moin Qazi*
India has grown into a global powerhouse. Its economy is soaring but the picture on the ground is still quite arid. The green shoots that you see are only a patch of its landscape. Most Indians are hapless victims of inequity. India is one country where intense poverty abounds in the shadow of immense wealth.

"Pro-corporate" Supreme Court order on FRA would further marginalize Adivasis

By VS Roy David, JP Raju*
For millions of Adivasis and other traditional forest dwellers February 13, 2019 will go down in history as the day of apocalypse. This is like the proverbial Black Friday where millions of most marginalized people of India were ordered by malicious anti-people draconian Supreme Court order depriving them the life and livelihood by evicting them from their habitats.

India, Pakistan told to eliminate nuclear weapons: N-war "would kill" 2 billion

Counterview Desk
The International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), a non-partisan federation of national medical organizations in 64 countries, representing tens of thousands of doctors, medical students, other health workers, and concerned citizens, claiming to share the common goal of creating a more peaceful and secure world freed from the threat of nuclear annihilation, has warned that “an unprecedented global catastrophe” awaits the globe against the backdrop of warmongering in India and Pakistan.

Women, business, law: India scores worst among all BRICS, several African nations

By Rajiv Shah
A new World Bank report ranks India 125th in its Women, Business and the Law (WBL) index among 187 economies it seeks to analyse across the globe. The report's main aim claims to be to "gain new insight into how women’s employment and entrepreneurship choices are affected by legal gender discrimination. On a scale of 100, India's score is 71.25, worse than the global average of 74.71.