Skip to main content

Lockdown checkup: PDS improves, but MGNREGA work 'missing' in many villages

By Our Representative 
The second round of the Lockdown Checkup survey, conducted by members of the Right to Food Campaign Jharkhand  has found that while the public distribution system (PDS) has improved in the state, work under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) is still missing in many villages.
The survey took place during the 2nd and 3rd week of May 2020, and focused on the status of essential services like ration shops,  MGNREGA, dal-bhat kendras, community kitchens, banks, etc.
Based on telephonic reports of observers from 46 blocks in 22 districts (50 blocks in 19 districts for Round 1, in the first week of April), while comparing the two rounds, the survey results show that PDS and dal-bhat kendras have improved in April and in most blocks (42 out of 46), PDS cardholders received double rations in April.
In 40 out of 46 blocks, cardholders have started getting free ration in the month of May: 10 kg per person in 35 blocks and 5 kg per person in another five blocks, the survey found, adding, however, that even though all cardholders are to receive 2 kg of free dal for April-May, it has not been distributed in 35 out of the 46 blocks.
Also, in all the remaining blocks barring one, cardholders received only 1 kg dal instead of 2 kg. Also, the problem of ‘katauti’ i.e. giving less than entitled quantity continued unabated.
The survey said, the Mukhyamantri dal-bhat kendras are now active in a larger number of blocks, compared with Round 1. But the utilisation of dal-bhat kendras remains very low, because of the lockdown. Only 16 out of 45 kendras have been publicised by the local administration. Some kendras in Ranchi are delivering food to nearby slums, with good effect. But among the surveyed blocks, only 8 out of 46 have adopted mobile food delivery.
As for 'Didi kitchens', the survey said, these are running in gram panchayats (of block observers) of 43 out of 46 surveyed blocks. In most cases, however, the kitchen is not accessible to needy people from all the villages in the gram panchayat (GP): only those who reside in nearby tolas or villages are able to reach the kitchen.
In 37 out of 46 blocks, there were long queues and overcrowding outside banks. People had to queue for hours, sometimes standing in the sun
At the same time, the survey noted, unemployment is a significant problem today in rural areas and many workers are interested in MGNREGA work. Thus, only 29 out of 46 observers reported that MGNREGA work had started in their village.
In many villages, small works like TCB (trench cum bunds) have opened which hardly create adequate work for all workers. Many migrant workers do not have job cards and many others who have job cards are unable to get work because of the complexity of the application process. The system is poorly prepared for a big expansion of MGNREGA employment. For instance, many blocks do not even have programme officer at block level.
The survey further found that in 37 out of 46 blocks, there are long queues and overcrowding outside the banks. People have to queue for hours, sometimes standing in the sun. Specially abled and older people are facing many difficulties in withdrawing money.
In 41 out of 46 blocks, Pragya Kendras or Customer Service Centres are active in the neighbourhood of the observer, but at least 13 of these centres face technical problems such as: (1) Link failure, (2) Fingerprint authentication failure, (3) Lack of money.
In some blocks, people have been asked to come again the next day to get cash even after biometric verification. In such a situation, it will also be challenging for MGNREGA workers to withdraw wages from their bank account.
“Right now it is most important to ensure food and work for everyone in rural areas. Public distribution system should be universalised in rural areas. Under the MGNREGA, large labour-intensive public works should be opened in all the village and weekly cash payments should be made”, a Right to Food Campaign Jharkhand note commented.

Comments

TRENDING

Top upper caste judges 'biased' towards Dalit colleagues: US Bar Association report

By Rajiv Shah  A high profile report prepared by the influential  American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights , taking note of the fact that “in the 70-year history of the Indian Republic, only six Dalit judges have been appointed to the Supreme Court”, has taken strong exception to what it calls “lack of representation of Dalits” in the legal profession and the judiciary.

Unlike other revolutionaries, Hindutva icon wrote 5 mercy petitions to British masters

By Shamsul Islam*  The Hindutva icon VD Savarkar of the RSS-BJP rulers of India submitted not one, two,or three but five mercy petitions to the British masters! Savarkarites argue: “There are no evidences to prove that Savarkar collaborated with the British for his release from jail. In fact, his appeal for release was a ruse. He was well aware of the political developments outside and wanted to be part of it. So he kept requesting for his release. But the British authorities did not trust him a bit” (YD Phadke, ‘A complex Hero’, "The Indian Expres"s, August 31, 2004)

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.

Whither SDG goal? India's maternal mortality rate fall target 5.5% per yr, actual 4.5%

By Srinivas Goli, Parul Puri* The maternal mortality ratio (number of maternal deaths per one lakh live births) is a key and sensitive parameter used by health policymakers to monitor maternal health conditions in particular and women's status in general in a country.

Fresh efforts to subsume Buddhism within Hindu fold 'undermining' Ambedkar

By Aviral Anand*  From Yeola in 1935, when Dr Ambedkar announced that he would not die a Hindu, to Nagpur in 1956 when he converted to Buddhism, is a considerable distance in time. But, there was in him a need to make a public announcement in 1935 about moving away from Hinduism. 

How green revolution led to 'deterioration' of Punjab economy, land, air and water

By Dr Gian Singh*  A recent research paper, based on a survey of 320 farming families in four districts of Punjab, has tried to show that high crop densities and the use of inputs have led to degradation of land, air, water and humans through a rich agricultural structure. Although mechanization has increased agricultural productivity, it has also caused environmental degradation.

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam* In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

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".

Reverse progress in fight against hunger? 15.3% of India undernourished: GHI

By Harchand Ram*  Every year October 16 is observed as World Food Day to celebrate the date of the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. In the year 2021, the theme for World Food Day is “Our actions are our Future-Better Production, better nutrition, a better environment, and a better life”.

Abysmal deficit of water, food waste recycle treatment 'impacting' Chennai life

By Simi Mehta*  We are living in a state where the most basic needs like food and water are not assured to the people residing in the urban areas, which account for the biggest sources of food and water wastage. Socio-economic inequality in society which is pervasive in urban areas is one of the main reasons for this.