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

Tracing roots of Hindutva Zionism: cannon fodder for 'warped' nationalist pretensions

By Shamsul Islam*  Those who believe in a world free of hegemonic ethno-nationalism, racism, religious bigotry and hatred have rightly taken note of Zionism and its ally Christian Zionism, major perpetrators of ethnic cleansing of ‘Others’. However, the civilized world with its core belief in multi-culturalism and peaceful co-existence is oblivious to a no less dangerous threat to the present human civilization: the Hindutva Zionism. As the term reads it is part of the Hindutva world-view which stands for an exclusive Hindu India minus Muslims and Christians. The other religions like Sikhism, Buddhism, and Jainism will have no independent status but treated as part of Hinduism. The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS; National Volunteer Organization) is the most prominent flag-bearer of the Hindutva politics whose cadres presently rule India, the largest democracy in the world. RSS was founded by Keshav Baliram Hedgewar (1889-1940) in 1925 who was disillusioned with the Indian freedom st

'Blatant violation' of law by Central government in making NREGA payments

By Our Representative  In September third week, NREGA workers across the country were mobilised for two day so raise their issues and submit a memorandum to the Prime Minister. Organised the NREGA Sangharsh Morcha (NSM), a collective of groups that work with NREGA labourers across the country, workers from 13 states -- Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal -- carried out Kaam Do Abhiyaan, staging demonstrations and rallies against what they called blatant violation of law by the Central government in making NREGA payments. While NREGA has had very positive impacts, it has lately become fruitless, exploiting labour, even though workers who have put in honest hard work have to wait for their wages endlessly, it was suggested.  In such a situation, there is a need to firm up NREGA implementation and end systematic corruption to ensure that workers get their basic NREGA entit

Shocking? No Covid vaccine trials conducted on pregnant, lactating women: RTI reply

By Rosamma Thomas*  A Right to Information applicant who sought details of safety trials conducted in India on pregnant and lactating women for three Covid vaccines in use in India – Covishield, Covaxin and ZyCov-D -- was shocked to learn from the Central Drugs Standard Control Organization (CDSCO) that Serum Institute, manufacturer of Covishield, and Cadila Healthcare, manufacturer of the ZyCov-D vaccine, had not sought permission for such trials.  Bharat Biotech, manufacturer of Covaxin, had sought permission for trial on pregnant women and later withdrawn its application. This response , provided after the applicant was initially unsatisfied with the response and went in appeal, is from the joint drugs controller, CDSCO. It was dated September 13, 2022. One researcher closely following the vaccine rollout, however, is of the opinion that the lack of a trial on pregnant and lactating women is a blessing; potential trial participants and their unborn babies thus escaped harm. Aruna Ro

Fascism on prowl? Religious meet 'deeply pained' at silence of Church, bishops, priests

Counterview Desk  The ‘Forum of Religious for Justice and Peace’which held its 17th National Convention at the Montfort Social Institute, Hyderabad, Telangana from 22 to 24 September 2022 on the theme “Deepening our Identity as Religious: Responding to the Signs of the Times”, has expressed concern “at the deteriorating situation of our nation on every front”, especially stating, “Fascism seems to have come to stay” in India. At the same time, the convention, which took place with the participation of 60 persons from 16 states representing 20 religious congregations, in its unanimously-adopted statement added, “We have reached abysmal depths on every parameter: be it social, economic and political”, underlining, “The poor in India become poorer every day; the rich and powerful continue to profiteer at their expense and amass scandalous amounts of wealth.” Text: We, members (63 women and men Religious, from 16 states representing 20 Congregations) of the Forum of Religious for Justice

Rajasthan cops 'halt' Gujarat Dalit women's rally: homage to untouchability victim boy

By Our Representative  In a surprise move, the Rajasthan police stopped a Dalit women's rally from Gujarat on the borders after it crossed Gujarat alleging that it would "disturb peace" in village Surana, Jalore district, where the gruesome incident of death of a Dalit boy took place on August 13 after he was brutally beaten up by his teacher on touching the drinking water pot. Sources said, while the Gujarat government had "no objection" in allowing the rally, which originated from the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), an empowerment-cut-technical institute for teens founded by human rights leader Martin Macwan, on September 24 morning, the Rajasthan police stopped it for two and a half hours before allowing it to proceed to Surana. The decision to take out a women's rally was taken at a DSK meeting on September 5 following a condolence meeting of the NGO Navsarjan Trust, also founded by Macwan, activists committed to work against caste-based discrimination, orga

Introducing non-native cheetahs is 'not equivalent' to restoring pride in the nation

By Bappaditya Mukhopadhyay*  The Cheetahs from the African continent has finally been introduced to India by the Indian Prime Minister on his 72nd birthday. The process had started with the previous Government in 2009. However, the Supreme Court clearance was pending owing to the objection by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) plea to reintroduce cheetahs. Finally the clearance was obtained in January 2020 and thereafter Kuno National Park (KNP) was chosen for the reintroduction of first set of Southeast African Cheetahs. In the near future, depending upon the success story of the current reintroduction, more cheetahs from South Africa may also be introduced. This exercise has generated a lot of interest among various stakeholders with opinions on both sides galore. It is important to pose some questions that surround the whole exercise. Let us evaluate some of these arguments. The first set of arguments are quite detached from the issues of conservation as they most

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".

'Military diplomacy': US praises Bangladesh Army for leadership role in UN operations

By Kamal Uddin Mazumder* As the Indo-Pacific region represents the world’s economic and strategic center of gravity, the Indian Ocean today is becoming the centerpiece of all geo-strategic play. Cooperation in the region is crucial to implementing the international community’s global agenda, including achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. Major powers like the US have enhanced and deepened their strategic engagement and leadership roles with countries in the region. The Indo-Pacific Army Management Seminar, or IPAMS, is a U.S. Army Pacific (USARPAC) initiated conference that is aimed at facilitating and enhancing interactions among the armies of the Indo-Pacific region. This year's 46th Indo-Pacific Armies Management Seminar (IPAMS)-2022, co-hosted by the Bangladesh Army and US Army Pacific (USARPAC), concluded in Dhaka. The objective of IPAMS is to promote peace and stability in the region through mutual understanding, dialogue, and friendship. It is the largest confer

Grave error? Scholar blames ex-Gujarat babu for anti-Christian riots 'citing fake report'

By Rajiv Shah  A few days back, I received a message from one of the finest former Gujarat government bureaucrats, PG Ramrakhiani, a 1964 batch IAS official, who retired in November 2000. I would often interact with him in 1997-99, even later, after I was sent to Gandhinagar as a Times of India man to cover Sachivalaya. Those were turbulent times. Shankarsinh Vaghela was the Gujarat chief minister, under attack from two sides – from the BJP, which he had left to form a separate breakaway party, Rashtriya Janata Party (RJP), one one hand, and the Congress, which was supporting him from outside, on the other. Ramrakhiani, in his message, referred to the book authored by Ghanshyam Shah and Jan Breman, both top-notch scholars who have known Gujarat in and out. Called “Gujarat, Cradle and Harbinger of Identity Politics: India’s Injurious Frame of Communalism”, I reviewed the book in January 2022.  It claims that Muslims in Gujarat have been turned into “new untouchables”, thanks to the Hin

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.