Skip to main content

Direct Bank Transfer social audit promise: Jharkhand govt on backfoot despite assurance to opposition rally

Anti-DBT March of February 26
By Our Representative
Despite the Jharkhand government's unusual "promise" that it would conduct a social audit of its Direct Bank Transfer (DBT) subsidy experiment during the month of March in the Nagri block of Ranchi district, nothing of the sort has happened, with indications emerging that it is dilly-dallying on the issue that is bothering large sections of the deprived people.
The promise was made following a Right to Food (RtF) Campaign finding, based on a survey of the DBT experiment, conducted in early February by student volunteers, and coordinated by well-known academic Jean Dreze and researcher Nazar Khalid, that beneficiaries had received only 2 out of 4 months’ DBT money during the preceding four months, and they had spent 12 hours per month withdrawing the money and buying their Public Distribution System (PDS) rations.
The survey alarmingly found that an overwhelming majority (97 per cent) of the respondents wanted the DBT experiment to be discontinued in favour of the old system of cheap rice at Re 1 per kg at the ration shop. Following the survey, on February 26, thousands of angry residents of Nagri took out a padyatra from Nagri to the Governor’s house in Ranchi, demanding the discontinuation of DBT.
RtF says in a note forwarded to Counterview, "Their demands, however, have fallen on deaf ears. The Jharkhand government got away with a vague promise of conducting a social audit of the Nagri DBT in March. However, this has not happened. As a result, the residents of Nagri continue to face extreme hardships, and many of them are deprived of their food rations."
Pointing out that "the worst affected are the most vulnerable – single women, the elderly, and disabled persons -- RtF has demanded that "an immediate discontinuation of the DBT pilot in Nagri, restoration of the earlier system of cheap rice at Re 1 per kg at the ration shop, and compensation for the victims of this illegal and unethical experiment."
Jean Dreze
Situated in the outskirts of Ranchi, capital of Jharkhand, Nagri block was put under pilot project by the Jharkhand government in October 2017 before introducing DBT across the state. Instead of rice at Re 1 per kg at the ration shop, the PDS cardholders began being offered a subsidy (calculated at Rs 31.60 per kg) in their bank account, as they were to buy rice at the ration shop at Rs 32.60 per kg.
The survey had said, “They (beneficiaries) are often constrained to make multiple trips to the bank to find out if the money has come, as most of them do not receive SMS alerts. Some banks even disallow cardholders from withdrawing money (claiming that the amounts are too small), forcing them to make further trips to the local Pragya Kendra or banking correspondents, where they often have to pay bribes.”
“The entire process leads to a huge waste of time and money for the cardholders. It is especially cumbersome for the elderly, the disabled, and those who find it difficult to take time off work”, the survey had underlined, adding, “All this is in addition to the hassles of Aadhaar-based biometric authentication (ABBA), rampant across Jharkhand.”
“PDS dealers, too, are inconvenienced by the DBT system as they now have to spend much more time to distribute grain and have to handle about Rs 4-5 lakh worth of cash every month”, the survey had further said, adding, “As per Niti Ayog’s surveys of DBT pilots in Chandigarh, Puducherry and Dadra and Nagar Haveli, this system is more expensive to access PDS entitlements. These surveys also found that over time a small proportion of cardholders stopped receiving the cash subsidy.”

Comments

TRENDING

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

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".

Labelling a Jesuit a Marxist? It's like saying if you use a plane, you become American

Jesuits: Cedric Prakash, Stan Swamy By Fr Cedric Prakash SJ* A thirteen- fourteen-year-old has many dreams! That's an impressionable age; at the cusp of finishing school. It is also a time when one tastes a different kind of freedom: to go for camps with boys of your own age (not with ones family). Such camps and outings were always enjoyed to the hilt. The ones, however, which still remain etched in my memory are the mission camps to the Jesuit missions in Maharashtra and Gujarat.

Giant conglomerates 'favoured': Whither tribal rights for jal-jungle-jameen?

Prafull Samantara By Mohammad Irshad Ansari*  The struggle for “Jal, Jungle and Jameen” has been a long-drawn battle for the tribal communities of India. This tussle was once again in the limelight with the proposed diamond mining in the Buxwaha forest of Chhatarpur (Madhya Pradesh). The only difference in this movement was the massive social media support it gained, which actually seems to tilt the scale for the tribal people in a long time.

Tussle between Modi-led BJP govt, Young India 'key to political battle': NAPM

Counterview Desk  In its month-long campaign, civil rights network National Alliance for People’s Movements (NAPM) carried out what it called Young People's Political Persecution and Resistance in “solidarity with all comrades facing political persecution and remembering human rights defender Stan Swamy…”

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.

Lost to commercialisation, vanity? Ashram awaits 'second assassination' of Gandhiji

Counterview Desk  Around 130 “concerned” citizens, in a statement, have protested against the Government of India and Gujarat government decision to turn Gandhi Ashram into a ‘world-class’ tourist destination spread over 54 acres at the cost of Rs 1,200 crore, which would include a Gandhi Ashram Memorial, an amphitheater, a VIP lounge, shops and a food court, stating it would compromise and trivialize the “sanctity and importance of the present-day Ashram, mainly Hriday Kunj, surrounding buildings, and the museum.”

Debt bondage, forced labour, sexual abuse in Gujarat's Bt cottonseed farms: Dutch study

By Rajiv Shah  A just-released study, sponsored by a Netherlands-based non-profit, Arisa , “Seeds of Oppression Wage sharecropping in Bt cottonseed production in Gujarat, India”, has said that a new form of bondage, or forced labour, exists in North India’s Bt cottonseed farms, in which bhagiyas, or wage sharecroppers, are employed against advances and are then often required to work for years together “without regular payment of wages.”

Govt of India has 'no moral right' to declare national day for Muslim women, Naqvi told

Counterview Desk  In what has been described as a nationwide outpouring of condemnation, following the announcement by Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, Minister of Minority Affairs, declaring August 1 as ‘Muslim Women’s Rights Day’ to mark the anniversary of the Triple Talaq law, over 650 citizens have said it is nothing but "cynical optics" of using Muslim women’s rights in the face of an "unprecedented" onslaught against the rights of the Muslims in recent years.

Covid: We failed to stop religious, political events, admits Modi-dharmacharya meet

Counterview Desk An email alert sent by one the 11 participants, Prof Salim Engineer, on behalf of the Dharmik Jan Morcha regarding their "religious leaders' online meet" with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, even as offering "support to meet challenges of Corona pandemic", blames religious congregations, though without naming the Maha Kumbh and other religious events, which apparently were instrumental in the spread of the second wave.

Madhya Pradesh Adivasis protest externment notice to Barwani tribal rights leader

By Harsing Jamre, Nasri Bai Ningwal, Prakash Bandod*  Over 2,500 Adivasis mobilized in response to Barwani district administration’s recent move to issue a show cause notice to Valsingh Saste, a prominent Adivasi activist of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS), Madhya Pradesh. For two decades, Valsingh Saste as an activist of JADS has been continuously leading struggles for the constitutional and fundamental rights of Adivasis.