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

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

ISKCON UK 'clarifies' after virus infects devotees, 5 die due to big temple meet

By Rajiv Shah
The International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), United Kingdom (UK), has admitted that at least 21 of its devotees were infected because of the spread of the coronavirus amongst the UK devotee community following the March 12 funeral and March 15 memorial of the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple president, in which about 1,000 people participated. Regretting that five of the devotees have passed away, the top Hindu religious in Britain body does not deny more may have been infected.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Gujarat construction workers walk home as Rs 2,900 crore welfare fund lies unused

By Our Representative
Situated behind the Gujarat University, some of the families of the migrant construction workers from Dahod and Panchmahals districts of Gujarat, and a few from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, who had stayed put in make-shift shanties in Ahmedabad’s sprawling GMDC Ground, have begun a long journey, by foot, back to their home villages in the eastern tribal belt of Gujarat.