Skip to main content

Protesters oppose Direct Bank Transfer, testimonies suggest how Jharkhand villagers are being harassed

Biometric machine doesn't recognize this old working
woman's hands, and she can't get her ration
By Our Representative
Thousands of residents of Nagri Block (Ranchi District, Jharkhand) have marched to the Chief Minister’s house on Monday to protest against the Direct Bank Transfer (DBT) for food subsidy, currently under experiment the villages near Ranchi. The experiment is claimed caused havoc in Nagri in the last four months. A recent survey found that 97% of PDS cardholders are opposed to it.
Taken out under the banner of Ration Bachao Manch, it is a broad coalition of a few opposition parties, including Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Left and the Congress, and 10 people’s organisations, such as Right to Food Campaign, All-India People’s Forum, United Mili Forum, and Jharkhand Nagrik Prayas.
The Jharkhand government began its experiment with DBT in October 2017, under which people were forced to collect their food subsidy in cash from the bank before using it to buy rice from the ration shop at Rs 32 per kg.
Earlier, they were able to buy rice from the ration shop at Re 1 per kg. At the end of January 2018, student volunteers conducted a survey in 13 randomly-selected villages of Nagri. The findings show that the DBT system is causing huge inconvenience and even depriving many people of their food rations.
On average, respondents had received just 2 out of 4 DBT installments in the preceding four months. Among the survey respondents, 97% are opposed to the DBT system. Regular agitations against DBT have taken place at the Block and District headquarters.
***
Some of the testimonies taken by the campaigners show how people have been suffering due to Direct Bank Transfer over the last four months:

Gaura Orain lives with her elderly husband. Last month, the DBT money was credited to his account. He had to make four visits to the bank before he was able to withdraw the money. Gaura’s husband had an accident two years ago and now has trouble walking. Each visit to the bank, with his limping leg and the support of a stick, is quite painful.
Aychi Nagduwar is an 85-year-old widow. She lives with her 40-year-old son, who is mentally challenged. For unknown reasons, no DBT money is being credited to her account.
Daniel Tirkey has not been able to collect his food rations, due to various problems with the DBT system. He has received a notice saying that his ration card will be cancelled if he does not collect his food rations.
Fulo Mundain has two bank accounts. She received her DBT money once in one of them. After that, she didn’t receive any money. She has been checking both accounts regularly. Last month, she was forced to buy her food ration with her own money.
Somari Mundain’s son and daughter-in-law live in the city and do not keep in touch with her. She takes care of her grandson. Earlier, her grandson would get the food rations for her. But now, he is unable to work his way around the bank, and she is too old to travel all the way to the bank multiple times and wait in the queue. So far, no DBT money has been credited into her account. Somari uses her widow pension to buy the food rations.
Binod Kerketta is yet to receive his ration card. Meanwhile, the PDS dealer has given him a notebook. The dealer says that his ration card has been sanctioned, but is yet to be issued. Quite a few in Kelende have a similar notebook. Mostly, they do not get DBT money and their names do not figure on the list.
Basi Orain’s DBT money gets credited to her husband’s account. Her husband, however, works in Punjab and she has not been able to withdraw the money from his account. Despite her repeated pleas, the bank has not been able to ensure that the DBT money goes to her own account. She takes care of her mentally challenged son. They have not been able to buy food rations for the last 2 months.
Fulit Kachhap is about 85-years-old and physically challenged. To make things easier, her daughter submitted her own bank account for DBT transfers. However, the money is credited to Fulit’s account. The daughter has to book an auto to take Fulit to the bank to withdraw the money. This costs her 300 rupees each time. The daughter first takes Fulit to the bank for identity verification. Then she brings Fulit back home, after which she goes back to the bank, waits in the queue for hours and is finally able to withdraw the money. The banks have no separate queues for the old or disabled.
Dukraj Prajapati is about 80 years old and physically challenged, making it difficult for him to walk. Despite his disability, he has to visit the bank for 3- 4 days every month to withdraw the DBT money. Despite the effort, he could purchase ration only twice in four months as the DBT money was not credited for the remaining two months.
Janale Mirda is a daily-wage labourer who earns Rs 300 a day in Ranchi. It took him 6 days to get the DBT money, involving an opportunity cost of 1800 rupees. His plea to the government is to remove the DBT system, which has become a new source of agony for poor people like him who were already struggling, day after day, to make ends meet.
Lalita Devi is around 75 years old and lives alone. Unable to afford a rickshaw or auto, she has to walk to the bank - 7 km away from her home. She has been able to collect her food rations only once since October, and it took her 13 days.
Damiya Oraon’s DBT money gets credited to her husband’s account. Her husband, however, is dead and she is unable to withdraw the money from his account. She has been using her own money to buy up her food rations, which cost her Rs 32 per kg.
Santi Devi has four members in her family and most of them have their own bank accounts. For the past 6-7 days, everyone in her house has been going to different banks, sacrificing their daily wages, waiting in long queues, checking their balance for the DBT money and returning home empty handed.
Satri Devi lives with her husband in the village, while her son works in Ranchi. The DBT money is credited to her husband’s account. Satri says that her husband spends all the DBT money on alcohol, leaving them with no money to buy food rations.
Prakash Kachhap was told by the Pragya Kendra that his DBT money had been credited to his Airtel wallet. When he went to the mobile store to get it redeemed, they told him that the government had stopped this scheme and that the money could not be retrieved. He does not know whether the money is still in that digital wallet. He has been using his own money to buy food rations.

Comments

Uma said…
All elderly people, whether they live in villages or cities, have the same problem. Since it is enforced, the govt MUST find a solution

TRENDING

RSS wanted Constitution 'replaced' by Manusmriti which abused Dalits, women

By Shamsul Islam* The Constituent Assembly of India finalized the Constitution of India on November 26, 1949 which is celebrated as the Constitution Day This Constitution promised new born Indian Republic a polity based on democracy, justice, egalitarianism and rule of law. However, RSS was greatly annoyed. Four days after the historic event of approval of it, the RSS English “Organiser” in an editorial on November 30, 1949, complained:

Nuclear energy 'can't solve' global warming, will 'strain' financial, natural resource

Counterview Desk  Taking strong exception to Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who has favoured nuclear energy as a solution to global warning, well-known power and policy analyst Shankar Sharma has said that the IAEA chief's “unsubstantiated advocacy” of nuclear power is associated with “diversion of considerable amounts of scarce resources, both financial as well as natural, of many developing countries, such as India.”

Covid taught us: Exams are cruel process of 'eliminating' those seeking education

By Sandeep Pandey, Seema Muniz, Gopal Krishna Verma* Some people are disheartened with the disruption in children’s education due to the menace of Covid and the successive lockdowns. While a number of children are getting used to attending online classes, their counterparts from the weaker socio-economic backgrounds continue to struggle either because of unfamiliarity with technology or because of having to share a single device with their siblings and/or parents. More unfortunate ones have been completely pushed out of the system which has resulted in the virtual drop in the rate of enrolment.

Book on Bhil rebels offers other side of history, neglected by 'nationalist' historians

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  One of the major accusations against Indian historians is that of neglecting and ignoring the role of the marginalised in the freedom struggle. Most of the time, we are ‘informed’ that there were some ‘heroes’ and ‘villains’ of the freedom movement, all of them belonging to the same stock of caste as well as ‘power’ positions as their opponents.

Mysterious death of Kishenji 'triggered' series of splits in Maoist camp in India

By Harsh Thakor* On November 24 fell the 10th death anniversary of Kishenji, a prominent Maoist leader, he was also a poet, a scientist, and a soldier. Since his school days he dreamt of planting the seed to create new man. Born in 1954 in Peddapally town (in Karimnagar district, north Telangana), Kishenji was raised by his father Venkataiah (a “freedom fighter”, he called him) and a progressive mother, Madhuramma.

Govt of India responsible for 71% delays in NREGA wage payments, say economists

Counterview Desk  In an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, more than 70 economists have urged the Government of India to release “adequate funds” for implementing the rural jobs guarantee scheme under the MGNREGA immediately, pointing out that the pandemic continues to adversely affect the living condition of working families.

Learning to bridge 'huge chasm' between highly educated, illiterate, badly literate

By Shrey Ostwal, Sandeep Pandey*  The pivotal point of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s journey to become Mahatma Gandhi began when his “political guru” – Gopal Krishna Gokhale – advised young Mohandas to travel around India. This rigorous journey was essential for Mohandas to understand his country and countrypersons better if he were to fight the inhumane and unempathetic British regime which had been looting India of its glory for about two centuries then.

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

Arrest of top J&K civil society leader shows contempt for international law: PUCL

Counterview Desk  Commenting on the arrest of Kashmiri human rights defender Khurram Parvez, India’s top human rights advocacy group, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), has said that the Government of India action is “one more attempt ... to silence peaceful, non-violent dissenters”, adding, it suggests how “a brutalizing state machinery" has been acting.

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".