Skip to main content

No aadhaar, no ration? Hard blow by Gujarat govt on poor and marginalized

By Pankti Jog*
Only those who have aadhaar registration and linked it with ration card will get ration from a Public Distribution System (PDS) shop. This decision of the Gujarat government has hit very badly thousands of poor and marginalized communities of Gujarat, especially during the drought year.
The Gujarat government has always been eager to make aadhaar compulsory for many of the government benefits like scholarship scheme, Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), and social security schemes like old age pension, widow pension etc. However, this time it is the turn of ration which one is supposed to get from PDS, ensured under the National Food Security Act (NFSA), 2013, passed by Parliament.
The Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel (MAGP) has been receiving complaints on poor implementation and corruption in Annapurna Yojana of the state government. Annapurna Yojana was launched by the government to ensure 5 kg of ration (wheat and rice) to priority households in rural and urban areas for Rs 2 per kg and Rs 3 per kg respectively. As per the law, 75% of the rural households and 50% of the urban households need to be given this benefit.
However, in Gujarat, for the last two months, the government has stopped giving ration to those who do not have aadhaar or those who have not linked aadhaar with the ration card yet.
In Danta block of Banaskantha district, the Right to Information (RTI) helpline team recently went in for cross checking after receiving several complaints on their helpline regarding ration being denied.
In one of the Fair Price Shops (FPS) at Dalpura village of Danta block of Banaskantha district, the team found that the names have been checked off with black pen for those who do not have aadhaar. When checked with the person at the FPS, he comfirmed that he has been given instructions by the mamlatdar's office that only those to who have aadhaar will get ration under Annapurna Yojana.
The team checked further in more than 30 villages in Danta block, and learnt that the situation is very pathetic. The government has turned so insensitive that it is denying ration for not having aadhaar, and only one third part of the ration quota is being allocated as per the NFSA. Similar situation was found in many villages of Devgadh Bariya block of Dahod district, too.
The Gujarat government came up wiith 5 different circulars in 2017, mentioning that aadhaar is preferable for availing benefit of a scheme. In one the circulars it is also mentioned that all individuals (beneficiaries) are expected to be linked. But it has not used the word mandatory for every individual with a ration card to get linked with aadhaar for getting ration.
Ironically, when contacted, the office of the principle secretary, Food and Civil Supplies Department, said the government has not taken any such decision.
However, for the past two months, in some of the poorest tribal blocks, while interacting with FPS license holders in Danta and Devgadh Bariya, they confirmed that the “e-FPS portal” displays only those names that have aadhaar, one reason why their names were cancelled and struck down with black pen.
The RTI helpline team checked things live during ration distribution in Dalpura village FPS shop, and it was shocked to see that in one of the ration cards, there were 10 members. While 9 names were displayed, the one that did not have aadhaar was not displayed.
This reveals that e-FPS software has been modified and automatically deletes the names on the basis of the availability of aadhaar. If the state government has not taken any such decision, how come that the e-FPS portal displays names of only those who have aadhaar from the ration card?
One of the tribals from Devgadh Bariya block said, "They have been denying ration to us for the last two months on the basis of aadhaar. Many of the villagers do not have aadhaar yet. Reasons are many. Some do not have any documents to show their birth date, some due to old age, some others because their thumbs impression does not match, and there are those who do not have Rs 200 to 500 to travel to block level several times, asking middle agents to fill up their forms."
While the government claims that they have completed all Seva Setu programmes in the state, there are hundreds of poor and marginal citizens who are excluded from aadhaar registration.
“This may lead to starvation in poor families, as due to drought situation in the state this year, there is scarcity of inter-district employment in agriculture, especially in Saurashtra”, said Harinesh Pandya of Janpath, a state-level network of voluntary organizations. “No provision in a circular can have overriding effect over the provisions of an Act that has been made by Parliament”.
MAGP has demanded that the government needs to immediately issue instructions to all districts that no ration can be denied for not having aadhaar, and every family covered under Annapurna Yojana should get complete ration quota as per the allocation.
On one hand, orders of the Supreme Court say that governments must ensure that no citizen will be excluded from a scheme and a programme because of aadhaar, on the other hand, the Gujarat government has given a hard blow to the poor and marginalized in the state by making aadhaar mandatory for getting one’s ration.
---
*Mahiti Adhikar Gujarat Pahel, Ahmedabad

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Letter to friends, mentors: Coming together of class, communal, corona viruses 'scary'

By Prof (Dr) Mansee Bal Bhargava*
COVID greetings from Ahmedabad to dear mentors and friends from around the world…
I hope you are keeping well and taking care of yourself besides caring for the people around you. I’m writing to learn how is the science and the society coping with the prevention and cure of the pandemic. I’m also writing to share the state of the corona virus that is further complicated with the long-standing class and communal viruses.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.

Oxfam on WB project: ICT 'ineffective', privatised learning to worsen gender divide

By Rajiv Shah 
A top multinational NGO, with presence in several developed and developing countries, has taken strong exception to the World Bank part-funding Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project in six Indian states – Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra and Odisha – for its emphasis on information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled approaches for teacher development, student assessment and digital platform for early childhood education.