Skip to main content

Aadhaar linkage a major reason for hunger, unemployment across India, testify individuals from 14 states in Delhi

Gujarat women at the hearing
By Ankita Aggarwal*
Individuals from 14 states have testified before a panel of experts, who included activists, journalists, lawyers, legislators, scholars, trade union leaders and politicians, about how their situation of hunger and unemployment were directly linked with violations of the right to food and work, rampant across the country, made worse by the aadhaar requirement.
At the public hearing, organised by Right to Food Campaign at Gandhi Peace Foundation, Delhi, Balakram, an adivasi from Chhattisgarh; Shardaben, a Dalit from Gujarat; Pratap Singh, from Madhya Pradesh, and others testified about how they and others in their villages were ration card citing various reasons, including failure to authenticate their biometric finger prints under aadhaar.
Vishwanath from Jharkhand revealed how Budhni Soren – a tribal woman from Giridih – died due to hunger in January 2018. Dipa Sinha, who participated in the fact-finding team to inquire about the starvation death of Amir Jahan in Moradabad, Uttar Pradesh, said, the latter’s family did not know how to apply for a ration card. Her husband had to leave the work of rickshaw pulling due to tuberculosis and migrate to Pune in search of work.
Debashish, a sarpanch from Koraput, Odisha, said, the situation of food security in his area was grim, underling, of the 1,393 households in his Gram Panchayat, 175 households did not have a ration card, even though they applied for it over a year ago.
Activist Taramani Sahu from Simdega, Jharkhand, gave detailed testimony about Santoshi’s hunger death due to the cancellation of her family’s ration card in the absence of aadhaar seeding. The meeting also heard details of hunger deaths of three brothers of Gokarna, Karnataka, due to discontinuation of ration for want of aadhaar.
Taramani Sahu giving testimony
on death of 11-year-old Santoshi
The situation was found to be not very different in big cities like Delhi and Amritsar. Homeless persons from Delhi testified that they were unable to get their aadhaar and were denied several entitlements in the absence of identification documents. The meeting was told, there were 19.5 lakh ration cards in Delhi, but in January 2018 almost a quarter of them were unable to access ration due to aadhaar-based biometric authentication failure.
Gulshan Khatoun and Maida Khatoon of Noida – which forms part of Delhi’s National Capital Region – testified how they or their family members were unable to get pension because of authentication issues. Ranjeet Kaur, a woman from Amritsar with disability in her leg, had a similar story to tell.
Speaking on the occasion, CPI’s D Raja, Rajya Sabha member, said, the country’s elected representatives should be discussing these important issues, while Congress’ Rajeev Gowda, former professor of the Indian Institute of Management-Bangaluru, also from Rajya Sabha, said his party had brought aadhaar, but its intention was not to use the Unique Identification system as a tool of exclusion.
Prof Reetika Khera from Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi said that although many poor households were excluded from the ambit of food security, the Right to Food Campaign should draw strength from its victories. Khera added, the National Food Security Act was one such success – limited as it might be – as it had significantly expanded the coverage of the Public Distribution System (PDS).
Others who heard the testimonies included Annie Raja, Bhasha Singh, Harsh Mander, Kavita Srivastava, Mira Shiva, Neha Dixit, Prashant Bhushan, Saksham Khosla, Vandana Prasad and Usha Ramanathan.
---
*Right to Food Campaign

Comments

TRENDING

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

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".

RSS' 25,000 Shishu Mandirs 'follow' factory school model of Christian missionaries

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
The executive committee of the International Union of Anthropological and Ethnological Sciences (IUAES) recently decided to drop the KISS University in Odisha as the co-host of the World Anthropology Congress-2023. The decision is driven by the argument that KISS University is a factory school.

India must recognise: 4,085 km Himalayan borders are with Tibet, not China

By Tenzin Tsundue, Sandeep Pandey*
There has as been a cancerous wound around India’s Himalayan neck ever since India's humiliating defeat during the Chinese invasion of India in 1962. The recent Galwan Valley massacre has only added salt to the wound. It has come to this because, when China invaded the neighbouring country Tibet in 1950, India was in high romance with the newly-established communist regime under Mao Zedong after a bloody revolution.

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.

Time to give Covid burial, not suspend, World Bank's 'flawed' Doing Business ranking

By Maju Varghese*
On August 27, the World Bank came out with a statement suspending the Doing Business Report. The statement said that a number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.

Delhi riots: Cops summoning, grilling, intimidating young to give 'false' evidence

Counterview Desk
More than 440 concerned citizens have supported the statement issued by well-known bureaucrat-turned-human rights activist Harsh Mander ‘We will not be silenced’ which said that the communal riots in Delhi in February 2020 have not been caused by any conspiracy, as alleged by the Delhi Police, but by “hate speech and provocative statements made by a number of political leaders of the ruling party.”

Gujarat literati flutter: State Akademi autonomy curb a Sahitya Parishad poll issue?

By Dankesh Oza*
The 115-year-old Gujarati Sahitya Parishad is in election mode. More than 3,000 life members of the Parishad are set to elect its 52nd president and 40 plus central working committee (CWC) members, which in turn will elect its executive and two vice presidents, six secretaries and a treasurer for the coming three years (from 2021 to 2023).

WHO chief ignores India, cites Pak as one of 7 top examples in fight against Covid-19

By Our Representative
In a move that would cause consternation in India’s top policy makers in the Modi government, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization (WHO) director-general, has singled out Pakistan among seven countries that have set “examples” in investing in a healthier and safer future in order to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.

Agricultural reform? Small farmers will be more vulnerable, corporates to 'fix' price

By Dibyendu Chaudhuri*
Agriculture employs 42% of the total work force whereas it contributes only 16% to the country’s GDP. The average annual growth rate in agriculture has remained static to 2.9% since the last six years. This means that the post-green revolution conventional agriculture has reached its peak. Responsiveness of soil fertility to fertiliser application, an indicator of stagnancy in agriculture, shows declining trend since 1970. The worst sufferer has been the small and marginal farmers who constitute 86% of total farmers.