Skip to main content

As 96.9% Jharkhand's Nagri residents oppose Direct Bank Transfer, state govt asks Centre to stop DBT

By Our Representative
Has the hype around Direct Bank Transfer (DBT), created by the Government of India, in order to provide cash subsidy in banks to the beneficiaries of Central and state schemes, beginning to fade into the oblivion? It would seem so, if a recent report, “Social Audit of Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) for Food Subsidy Pilot in Nagri, Ranchi, Jharkhand”, is any indication.
Carried out with the support of the Jharkhand government’s Department of Food, Public Distribution and Consumer Affairs, the “social audit” in Nagri block was done to assess the performance of DBT from October 2017 to March 2018 in all 46 villages of 13 panchayats, covering 8,370 ration card holders out of 16,768 households.
Conducted on April 11-15, the social audit’s survey on “ease between pre-existing subsidised food grain distribution system and DBT” suggested “overwhelming favour to the pre-existing food grain distribution from PDS at Rs 1 per kg, pointing out, “96.9% of respondent favoured the previous system whereas only 2.4% feel that DBT is a better option.”
The survey report says, “The findings of the survey were validated in the Gram Sabha meetings. Total 38 gram sabhas were held in 46 villages of 13 panchayats. Eight villages were not covered as it has been notified as urban area. Total 36 gram sabhas unanimously said ‘No to DBT’, preferring the pre-existing subsidise food grain distribution system. Only 2 gram sabhas said DBT is acceptable only when the operational system is completely reformed.”
Based on the survey, top academic and social activist Jean Dreze, in an email alert to Counterview, said, “Jharkhand’s misguided ‘DBT for food subsidy’ pilot in Nagri Block (Ranchi district) is yet to be discontinued, despite virtually unanimous opposition to it from gram sabhas.”
Pointing towards a “sequence of events” regarding opposition to DBT, Dreze says, “The Nagri pilot was initiated in early October 2017. Public protests erupted almost immediately and have continued ever since. Under the DBT system, people have 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.”
Before the Jharkhand government carried out the survey, says Dreze, in February 2018, a separate survey was conducted “by student volunteers in 13 randomly-selected villages of Nagri Block revealed that the pilot was causing enormous hardship to the people of Nagri.”
Then, on February 26, 2018, “thousands of aggrieved people from Nagri walked from there to the Governor’s house in Ranchi to demand to the discontinuation of DBT in favour of the earlier system. Not convinced with the survey findings, the Government of Jharkhand promised to complete its own ‘social audit’ of the pilot by the end of March and take a decision soon after that.”
Pointing out that “the social audit broadly confirms the results of the earlier survey”, Dreze says, “Large numbers of people in Nagri are deprived of food rations due to DBT, and even larger numbers face enormous hardship as they make expensive and time-consuming trips to the bank, Pragya Kendra and ration shop.”
According to Dreze, “Like the February survey, the social audit also found near-unanimous opposition to DBT in Nagri. In fact, the proportion of respondents who opposed DBT was the same in both cases: 97%! During the April social audit, Gram Sabhas were also held in 38 villages (out of 46) to discuss the DBT pilot. According to the attached Executive Summary of the social audit report, 36 out of 38 Gram Sabhas unanimously said ‘No to DBT’ and demanded a return to the old PDS system.”
Following the official survey, says Dreze, “On May 28, 2018, the Government of Jharkhand wrote to the Central Government requesting permission to discontinue the DBT pilot in Nagri. The letter argues that this pilot violates the National Food Security Act (NFSA)”.
Wondering “Why was it started in the first place?”, Dreze comments, “Four months after the February 26 demonstration, the government is yet to take a decision on the DBT pilot. Meanwhile, the people of Nagri continue to suffer and wait for an end to this ordeal.”

Comments

Prasad Chacko said…
It is being proved over and over again that in our country ruled by the dominant castes, it is impossible to ensure equitable development. Caste determines your access to economic resources. Ironically the state resources, which are supposed to be allocated based on principles of equity are completely sucked dry by the dominant caste groups that control the politics and bureaucracy. When the Planning Commission was there at least there was a compulsion to allocate resources in the budget according to the special component plan that enjoined the governments to do so in the same proportion as the percentage of population of the SCs and STs. But with the Niti Ayog coming in, there is no more concern regarding equitable allocation. Hence there is an urgent need to advocate for and pass a nation-wide legislation for the Special Component Plan. We cannot permit this loot of our public resources by a small powerful elite.

TRENDING

US research: 40% of India's casteist Facebook posts are anti-reservation, anti-Dalit

By Rajiv Shah
A recent American civil society research has found that 40% of India's casteist posts on Facebook (FB) have anti-reservation slant. Asserting that the reservation policy in India is similar to affirmative action in the United States, the research study, titled "Facebook India: Towards The Tipping Point of Violence Caste and Religious Hate Speech", says, this type of hate content on FB is mainly directed against Dalits and Adivasis.

Sanjiv Bhatt paying price for deposing on Modi role in Gujarat riots: Wife Shweta

Counterview Desk
Following the Jamnagar sessions court ordering life imprisonment to former IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt for his alleged involvement in three decades old custodial death case, his wife Shweta Bhatt has said that he has been sentenced for a “for a crime he did not commit”, even as criticizing the Indian Police Service (IPS) Association, Gujarat, for not standing up for him.

Senior advocates targeted because they took up cases against Amit Shah: Lawyers' NGO

Counterview Desk
The Lawyers Collective (LC), an NGO claiming to promote human rights issues, has expressed surprise at the latest move by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to register an FIR against the Lawyers Collective (LC), its president Anand Grover and unknown office bearers for alleged violation of the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

How Gujarat govt imposed curbs on livestock export for 'fear' of losing BJP vote share

By RK Misra*
Insidious are the ways authorities function, preaching one thing, practicing quite another. Administrative muscle-flexing to suit political goals was on display when the BJP-led Vijay Rupani government in Gujarat banned the export of livestock days ahead of Eid. Even the Narendra Modi-led government expressed its intent to confirm it countrywide, but stopped short of doing so.

One of the least peaceful countries, India's global peace ranking deteriorates: Report

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report has asserted that India's ranking in the Global Peace Index (GPI) is 141st among 163 countries, deteriorating by four ranks in a year. Ranking 163 countries by providing a score to each, the report, prepared by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP), headquartered in Sydney, Australia, has found India to be one of the least peaceful nations in the region.

Demand for Bharat Ratna to Dalai Lama as top RSS leader warns China of 'strong' action

Nava Thakuria*
Dharamshala: Indian supporters for a free Tibet have urged the Government of India to confer Bharat Ratna, the country’s highest civilian honour, on the Tibetan spiritual leader, the 14th Dalai Lama, for his “immense contributions” in creating goodwill for India in the last six decades. A declaration, adopted at the 6th All-India Tibet Support Groups’ Conference held on June 15 and 16 in Dharamshala township of Himachal Pradesh, said that the Nobel laureate continues to be a holy ambassador of Indian culture enriched with non-violence, compassion and religious harmony.

Sabarmati 'cleaned up' swimming pool style: Untreated effluents discharged in river

Counterview Desk
In a fresh letter to the secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India, senior Gujarat environmentalists Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) have taken strong objection to the recent clean-up drive of the about 11.3 km stretch of Sabarmati riverbed undertaken by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC), terming it as “swimming pool type clean-up.” The river’s total length is 371 km.

Jharkhand mob lynching: Adivasis protest police 'inaction', FIR against victims

Counterview Desk
The Jharkhand Janadhikar Manch (JJM), a civil rights network, on Monday sponsored a protest against the police action against the Adivasi victims of the lynching which took on April 10, 2019, in Jurmu village of Dumri block in Gumla district of Jharkhand. The incident led the death of Prakash Lakda, aged 50.

Gujarat govt 'considers' temples, charitable institutions as shops and establishment

By Pankti Jog*
The Gujarat state assembly recently passed a new law which would "govern" the working condition of shops and establishments. One of the most talked about provisions of the Act is, it allow shops and establishments across Gujarat to function 24 hours.

There is no 'separate' Kashmir story, as there is for Afghanistan, Nepal, Tibet, Palestine

By Mohan Guruswamy*
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of South Asia. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal mountain range. The name Kashmir derives from the Sanskrit Kashyapmeru. The Greeks knew it as Kaspeiria. Herodotus called it Kaspatyros.