Skip to main content

Delhi elections: People talk of long wait for ration card, aadhaar issues, starvation deaths

By Our Representative
An interaction with representatives of political parties organised by the Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan in order to put forward demands ahead of the upcoming Delhi Assembly Elections has seen people pointing out how large number of people were being deprived of ration cards. 
Those who participated in the interaction included Aam Admi Party representative Ajoy Kumar, Congress representative Aman Panwar, and Swaraj India representative Navnit Tiwari. No representative from BJP turned up.
Sangeeta, Mithlesh and Neelam of Kusumpur Pahadi said that though they had applied for ration cards in 2018, the department had informed them that the applications continue to be pending as the quota of ration cards was full. Poonam of the Janta Mazdoor Colony and Ramwati of Mangolpuri had made applications for ration cards 4 years ago, but they are yet to receive any intimation from the department.
Participants suggested, people were left out due to aadhaar being made mandatory. Mohd Sadiq of Sonia Vihar said that even though there are 10 members in his household, names of only 4 are on the ration card and, therefore, they get only 20 kg as opposed to 50 kgs of ration per month. 
Pooja of Mangolpuri spoke of a starvation death, stating, the daughter of the tenant living above her jhuggi was ill and the family had no food to feed her for three days. Others recalled the July 2018 death of three minor girls in Mandawali, East Delhi due to starvation, as highlighted in the post mortem reports.
People urged parties to commit to not implementing National Register of Citizens (NRC) and National Population Register (NPR), as it would cause exclusion of the poorest and the most marginalised, since they did not possess necessary documents. They said had experienced harassment due to aadhaar, which led to the exclusion of the most vulnerable sections.
A statement was handed over to political parties by the Delhi Rozi Roti Adhikar Abhiyan, signed by Anjali Bhardwaj, Amrita Johri, Chirashree, Snehlata, Anwar, Rajesh, Kailash, and Aditi.

Text:

India continues to rank among the bottom in indices like the Global Hunger Index and there are recent media reports that show that families in certain places are living in extreme hunger, faced with lack of employment opportunities and rising prices. Even with the expansion of PDS coverage after the passing of the National Food Security Act (NFSA), many are still left out of the PDS net.
In Delhi, lack of food security and social security continues to be a reality for millions of people. In July 2018, three minor girls died in Mandawali, East Delhi and the post mortem reports listed starvation as the cause of the deaths. 
Thousands of people have been left out of the ambit of the National Food Security Act, 2013 due to inadequate coverage, inadequate resources and budgets, insistence on Aadhaar and lack of provisions to address food insecurity of the most marginalised including homeless and transgenders. 
Further, the requisite rules and mechanisms have not been put in place to operationalize the law especially in terms of the grievance redress and accountability provisions.
At a time when the apathy and neglect of the central government on issues of food security, social security is for all to see, it becomes imperative that state governments prioritise these issues and also put in place necessary budgetary provisions.
It is unfortunate that instead of addressing issues which impact people, the central government is pushing forth an agenda in the form of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), NRC and NPR which will cause further marginalisation of the poorest and most vulnerable. We condemn the repression and violence with which the government has responded to the peaceful and democratic protests against the CAA, NRC, NPR.
Disruptions in Public Distribution System causing extreme hardship, exacerbating vulnerabilities of marginalised households
We believe that conducting the NRC in the entire country will only serve to further exclude the poorest, most marginalized, women, Dalits and Muslims from not just their basic entitlements but also citizenship. We have seen the experience with aadhaar, where it has only led to the exclusion of the most vulnerable from these schemes and programmes.
We therefore, call upon all political parties contesting the 2020 Delhi Assembly elections to make specific, operationable and time-bound commitments to ensure a life of dignity of the residents of Delhi. Specifically, we call upon parties to include the below-mentioned points in their manifestos.
  1. Provide pulses, oil and sugar at subsidized rates to all food security cardholders, irrespective of category to which they belong- AAY or priority.
  2. Enhance food security coverage beyond the population norm stipulated in the NFSA as many poor and marginalised people, especially the homeless, transgender and migratory workers have been left outside the purview of the Act. 
  3. End quota system and universalise the Public Distribution System. The multi-layered inclusion/exclusion criteria which has resulted in many needy families being deprived, especially arbitrary exclusion criteria like wattage of electricity meter needs to be urgently removed. Replace the multilayered inclusion/exclusion criteria with a simplified exclusion criteria. 
  4. Put in place simplified procedure to ensure that the most vulnerable categories, especially the homeless and transgenders, are not left out of the purview of the NFSA due to lack of documents like proof of residence and identity. 
  5. Disruptions in the Public Distribution System (PDS) cause extreme hardship and exacerbate vulnerabilities of marginalised households. No untested mechanisms like Aadhaar based authentication through Point of Sale devices should be brought in. When Delhi government had made Aadhaar based authentication through Point of Sale devices mandatory for all ration shops, it had led to large exclusion of the poorest and marginalised families from their right to food. Government figures showed that nearly 4 lakh cardholders were unable to access their rations. Upon learning of the hardships and exclusions, the Delhi government rolled back the decision. Measures like home delivery of rations etc. should be introduced only after extensive testing and consultations with affected people. 
  6. Aadhaar enrolment or Aadhaar enabled biometric authentication or inclusion in NPR, NRC must not be made mandatory for any food security or social welfare programme. The mandatory requirement of Aadhaar has been the cause of several starvation deaths in Jharkhand. 
  7. Establish community kitchens across Delhi which provide hot cooked food to ensure that homeless, street kids, and the most vulnerable are not left out of food security net. The kitchens must not turn away any person desirous of food. Several states have put in place systems to provide hot cooked meals at very nominal costs or free of cost. 
  8. Provide eggs, fruits and milk for children everyday through the mid-day meal scheme and ICDS in schools and anganwadis. Further universal coverage for ALL children under 6 must be ensured through ICDS without any conditionalities. 
  9. Implement maternity entitlements across all districts of Delhi as per the provisions of the NFSA and without any arbitrary conditionalities. 
  10. Provide quality creches across Delhi to ensure care and right to food for children of working parents in the unorganised sector. 
  11. Implement and operationalize all the transparency and accountability provisions in the NFSA Act, including- carrying out of periodic social audits (S. 28), grievance redress including internal mechanism within the department, setting up of State Food Commission, training of GR officials, resources for awareness creation regarding GR provisions (Chapter VII), transparency of records (S. 12(2)(d)), proactive disclosure of records (S. 27), proper functioning of Vigilance Committees (s. 29) in accordance with the repeated directions from the Supreme Court and the Delhi High Court. 
  12. State explicit commitment to not allowing public-private partnership (PPP) models or pre-packed food models in Delhi. 
  13. Ensure adequate budgetary provision for universal pensions for the elderly, widows and single women in vulnerable sections, and the disabled as access to financial security is a pre-requisite to accessing even the most basic entitlements under PDS. Providing “adequate pensions for senior citizens, persons with disability and single women” is the statutory obligation of the state government under Section 31 of the NFSA read with Schedule III of the law. 
  14. To provide time-bound and effective redress of peoples’ complaints, enact a Right to Grievance Redress Law along the lines of the legislation introduced in Parliament in 2011 (which lapsed in 2014). 
  15. Commit to not implementing NRC, NPR with the amended questions, as these will only serve to further exclude the poorest, most marginalized, women, dalits and muslims from not just their basic entitlements but also citizenship.

Comments

TRENDING

'Flawed' argument: Gandhi had minimal role, naval mutinies alone led to Independence

Counterview Desk Reacting to a Counterview  story , "Rewiring history? Bose, not Gandhi, was real Father of Nation: British PM Attlee 'cited'" (January 26, 2016), an avid reader has forwarded  reaction  in the form of a  link , which carries the article "Did Atlee say Gandhi had minimal role in Independence? #FactCheck", published in the site satyagrahis.in. The satyagraha.in article seeks to debunk the view, reported in the Counterview story, taken by retired army officer GD Bakshi in his book, “Bose: An Indian Samurai”, which claims that Gandhiji had a minimal role to play in India's freedom struggle, and that it was Netaji who played the crucial role. We reproduce the satyagraha.in article here. Text: Nowadays it is said by many MK Gandhi critics that Clement Atlee made a statement in which he said Gandhi has ‘minimal’ role in India's independence and gave credit to naval mutinies and with this statement, they concluded the whole freedom struggle.

A Hindu alternative to Valentine's Day? 'Shiv-Parvati was first love marriage in Universe'

By Rajiv Shah*   The other day, I was searching on Google a quote on Maha Shivratri which I wanted to send to someone, a confirmed Shiv Bhakt, quite close to me -- with an underlying message to act positively instead of being negative. On top of the search, I chanced upon an article in, imagine!, a Nashik Corporation site which offered me something very unusual. 

Don't agree on domestic subsidies, ensure food security at WTO meet: Farmer leaders

Counterview Desk  The Indian Coordination Committee of Farmers Movements (ICCFM), a top network of farmers’ organizations in India, in a letter to Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, has asked him to “safeguard food security and sovereignty, even as ensuring peasants' rights" at the 13th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO MC 13), to take place from 26 to 29 February 2024 in Abu Dhabi.

Students, lawyers, professors detained in Delhi for demonstrating in support of farmers

By Our Representative  About 25 protestors, belonging to the civil rights network, Campaign Against State Repression (CASR), a coalition of over 40 organisations, were detained at Jantar Mantar for holding a demonstration in support of the farmers' stir on Friday. Those detained included students, lawyers and professors, including Prof Nandita Narain and Prof N Sachin. 

Sharp 61-85% fall in Tech startup funding in India's top 'business-friendly' States

By Rajiv Shah Funding in Tech startups in top business-friendly Indian states has witnessed a major fall, a data intelligence platform for private market research has said in a series of reports it has released this month. Analysing Tech startup data of Telangana, Maharashtra, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, Tracxn Technologies Ltd , the Bengaluru-based research firm, finds that except for Kerala, funding witnessed a fall of anywhere between 61% and 85%.

Solar energy funding dips 9% in 2023; 2024 'kicks off' with US$1 billion investment

By Lakshmitha Raj*  Solar energy tech companies have already secured slightly over US$1 billion in funding in 2024 (till Feb 7, 2024) after total funding into Solar Energy companies in India fell 9% to US$1.55B in 2023 from US$1.7B in 2022. A total of 39 $100M+ rounds have been closed till date, with Delhi leading the city-wise funding, followed by Gurugram and Mumbai.

Maize, bajra, jute, banana cultivation banned off West Bengal border: Plea to NHRC

Counterview Desk  West Bengal-based human rights defender Kirity Roy, who is secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Manch, and is national convenor of the Programme Against Custodial Torture & Impunity, in a representation to the chairman, National Human Rights Commission, second within few days, has bought to light one more case of trespassing and destruction of a fertile banana plantation by BSF personnel along the Indo-Bangladesh border, stating, despite a written complaint to the police has taken "no initiative".

India second best place to invest, next to UAE, yet there is 'lacks support' for IT services

By Sreevas Sahasranamam, Aileen Ionescu-Somers*  The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the best place in the world to start a new business, according to the latest annual Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) survey. The Arab nation is number one for the third year in a row thanks to a big push by the government into cutting-edge technology in its efforts to diversify away from oil.

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".

Mahanadi delta: Aggressive construction in flood plains, reduced fish stock, pollution

By Sudhansu R Das  Frequent natural calamities, unemployment, low farmers’ income, increase in crime rate and lack of quality human resources to strike a balance between growth and environment etc. continue to haunt the state. The state should delve into the root causes of poverty, unemployment and natural calamities.