Skip to main content

Rationed food by marking on hands 'ignores' issue of dignity, threatens infection: NGO

By Our Representative
Well-known Ahmedabad-based NGO Centre for Social Justice (CSJ) in a detailed note has demanded a “more structured” involvement of civil society organizations (CSOs) in order to provide relief to the vulnerable sections of society, which have been adversely affected because of the coronavirus crisis.
The note, running in 40 pages and sent to senior Gujarat government officials, including chief secretary Anil Mukim, follows the Central agency, National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), asking all state governments to respond to how they would be “engaging and involving NGOs.”
Seeking CSO involvement in monitoring whether the actual beneficiaries, who will be given grains under the Ann Brahma Yojana, are being identified and helped, the CSJ note particularly takes exception to marking on hands with a marker, which it says “ignores issue of dignity”, pointing out, it may lead to a situation where “the threat of infection increases multifaceted."
Pointing towards alternatives, the note says, photograph could be taken as sufficient evidence of distribution, adding, the scheme should be implemented without insisting on ration cards. People who don’t have cards, especially vulnerable categories, should be allowed to go ahead with their claim of grains on producing the aadhaar card.
Pointing out that shop owners have been instructed to make a list and get new cards issued, the note believes, this would only cause unnecessary delays in disbursement of food and other essential items under the scheme.
Asking the authorities to activate the State Legal Service Authority (SLSA), the note says, as there is a strong need to have a grassroots cadre for monitoring entitlements post lock-down, and for this it is “important to enroll NGO volunteers under the Disaster Victim Legal Services Scheme.”
Claiming the CSOs have their expertise among targeted communities like marginal farmers and landless labourers, single women, persons with disabilities, homeless, street children etc., the note says, they can help identify beneficiaries, generate awareness, facilitate claims, and in the process overcome challenges and bring about policy changes.
Asserting that there is a need for volunteers at nakas, the spots where migrants going out of the urban centres are being stopped and left unattended, the note says, National Service Scheme (NSS) volunteers can be placed at such nakas.
These volunteers, it adds, should be asked to take details of the migrants for future entitlements, guide them for reaching the shelter especially created for them, facilitate access to food and ensure their immediate entitlements.
NGO involvement can identify beneficiaries, generate awareness, facilitate claims, overcome challenges, bring about policy changes
Also seeking to enroll student volunteers to track news reports, the note wants them to identify reporters to spot migrants who have been left out, adding, these volunteers can facilitate access through nodal officers or helplines such as 181, which is the abhaya helpline for women, or 1098, which is the child helpline.
Wanting the government to appoint police mitras and paralegal volunteers at the District Legal Services Authority (DLSA) to help the police, the note, however, says, “It does not make sense for police to play pranks and dance for COVID-19 awareness”, a job which should be left to “National Cadet Corps (NCC)/NSS volunteers.”
At the same time, the note says, in order to appoint paralegal volunteers, the current requirement of the procedure to be followed by the Paralegal Volunteer Scheme should be done away with, and active people should be coopted by passing the guidelines laid down in the paralegal volunteer scheme of 2009.
Further, the note says, while it is appreciable that NDMA has asked relief commissioners to give update of collaboration with NGOs, “What is needed is a framework for collaboration with CSOs which are able to aid and support the work the government is doing.”
Especially identifying three key areas in this respect, the note says, first of all, there should be a “broad directive, circular, or order from the Union government (ideally, the Prime Minister’s Office) granting permission to organisations so that they can start working and support the response on the ground.”
Secondly, a set of guidelines outlining should be issues identifying specific ways in which civil society can contribute and strengthen the government’s response.
And thirdly, there should be a dedicated point of contact with the government, who can be a separate body at the national level (such as NDMA) or at the state level (such as the Chief Minister’s Office), “whichever is more appropriate.”
---
Click here to see the full CSJ note

Comments

TRENDING

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.

How lead petitioner was rendered homeless when GM mustard matter came up in SC

By Rosamma Thomas*  On January 5, 2023, the Supreme Court stayed a December 20, 2022 direction of the Uttarakhand High Court to the Indian Railways and the district administration of Haldwani to use paramilitary forces to evict thousands of poor families occupying land that belonged to the railways.  Justice AS Oka remarked that it was not right to order the bringing in of paramilitary forces. The SC held that even those who had no rights, but were living there for years, needed to be rehabilitated. On December 21, 2022, just as she was getting ready to celebrate Christmas, researcher Aruna Rodrigues was abruptly evicted from her home in Mhow Cantonment, Madhya Pradesh – no eviction notice was served, and nearly 30 Indian Army soldiers bearing arms were part of the eviction process. What is noteworthy in this case is that the records establishing possession of the house date back to 1892 – the title deed with the name of Dr VP Cardoza, Rodrigues’ great grandfather, is dated November 14

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.

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".

Tax buoyancy claims when less than 4% Indian dollar millionaires pay income tax

By Prasanna Mohanty  In FY18, the last year for which disaggregated income tax data is available, only 29,002 ITRs declared income above Rs 5 crore, while Credit Suisse said India had 7.25 lakh dollar millionaires (the wealth equivalent of Rs 8 crore and above) that year. Often enough, the Centre claims that demonetization in 2016 raised tax collections, improved tax efficiency, and expanded the tax base. Now RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) member Ashima Goyal has also joined their ranks, attributing the “claims” of rising tax collections in the current fiscal year to “tax buoyancy” brought by the demonetisation . Do such claims have any basis in official records? The answer is unequivocal. The budget documents show the tax-to-GDP ratio (direct plus indirect tax) increased from 10.6% in FY16 (pre-demonetization) to 11.2% in FY17, remained there in FY18 (demonetization and GST fiscals), and then fell to 9.9% in FY20. In FY22, it improved to 10.8% and is estimated to drop to 10.7% in

Gandhian unease at Mahadev Desai book launch: Sabarmati Ashram may lose free space

By Rajiv Shah  A simmering apprehension has gripped the Gandhians who continue to be trustees of the Sabarmati Ashram: the “limited freedom” to express one’s views under the Modi dispensation still available at the place which Mahatma Gandhi made his home from 1917 to 1930 may soon be taken away. Also known as Harijan Ashram, a meeting held for introducing yet-to-be-released book, “Mahadev Desai: Mahatma Gandhi's Frontline Reporter”, saw speaker and after speaker point towards “narrowing space” in Gujarat for Gandhians (as also others) to express themselves. Penned by veteran journalist Nachiketa Desai, grandson of Mahadev Desai, while the book was planned to be released on January 1 and the meeting saw several prominent personalities, including actor-director Nandita Das, her scholar-mother Varsha Das, British House of Lords member Bhikhu Parekh, among others, speak glowingly about the effort put in for bringing out the book, exchanges between speakers suggested it should be rele

Why no information with Assam state agency about female rhino poaching for a year?

By Nava Thakuria   According to official claims, incidents of poaching related to rhinoceros in various forest reserves of Assam in northeast India have decreased drastically. Brutal laws against the poachers, strengthening of ground staff inside the protected forest areas and increasing public awareness in the fringe localities of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries across the State are the reasons cited for positively impacting the mission to save the one-horned rhinos. Officials records suggest, only two rhinos were poached in Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve since 1 January 2021 till date. The last incident took place probably in the last week of December 2021, as a decomposed carcass of a fully-grown (around 30 years old) female rhino was recovered inside the world-famous forest reserve next month. As the precious horn was missing, for which the gigantic animal was apparently hunted down, it could not be a natural death. Ironically, however, it was not confirmed when

Civil rights leaders allege corporate loot of resources, suppression of democratic rights

By Our Representative  Civil rights activists have alleged, quoting top intelligence officers as also multiple international forensic reports, that recent developments with regard to the Bhima Koregaon and the Citizenship Amendment Act-National Register of Citizens (CAA-NRC) cases suggest, there was "no connection between the Elgaar Parishad event and the Bhima Koregaon violence." Activists of the Campaign Against State Repression (CASR) told a media event at the HKS Surjeet Bhawan, New Delhi, that, despite this, several political prisoners continue to be behind bars on being accused under the anti-terror the draconian Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. Addressed by family members of the political prisoners, academics, as well as social activists, it was highlighted how cases were sought to be fabricated against progressive individuals, democratic activists and intellectuals, who spoke out against "corporate loot of Indian resources, suppression of basic democratic

Kerala natural rubber producers 'squeezed', attend to their plight: Govt of India told

By Rosamma Thomas   Babu Joseph, general secretary of the National Federation of Rubber Producers Societies (NFRPS) at a recent discussion at Mahatma Gandhi University, Kottayam, explained that it is high time the Union government paid greater heed to the troubles plaguing the rubber production sector in India – rubber is a strategic product, important for the military establishment and for industry, since natural rubber is still used in the manufacture of tyres for large vehicles and aeroplanes. Synthetic rubber is now quite widespread, but styrene, which is used in making synthetic rubber and plastics, and also butadiene, another major constituent of synthetic rubber, are both hazardous. Prolonged exposure to these even in recycled rubber can cause neurological damage. Kerala produces the bulk of India’s natural rubber. In 2019-20, Kerala’s share in the national production of rubber was over 74%. Over 20% of the gross cropped area in the state is under rubber cultivation, with total

Bangladesh 'rights violations': US softens stance, fears increased clout of China, India

By Tilottama Rani Charulata*  In December 2021, in addition to the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), the United States imposed sanctions on seven former and current officers of the force, alleging serious human rights violations. Benazir Ahmed and former RAB-7 commander Miftah Uddin Ahmed were banned from entering the US. RAB as an institution was also canceled the support it was getting from the US and its allies. At the same time, those under the ban have been notified of confiscation of assets held abroad. The anti-crime and anti-terrorism unit of the Bangladesh Police, RAB is the elite force consisting of members of the Bangladesh Army, Bangladesh Police, Bangladesh Navy, Bangladesh Air Force, Border Guard Bangladesh, Bangladesh Civil Service and Bangladesh Ansar, and has been criticized by rights groups for its use of extrajudicial killings and is accused of forced disappearances. The government of Bangladesh has been insisting about lifting the ban on RAB, but the US had till recen