Skip to main content

Ahmedabad lockdown: 37% poor households didn't get ration, Dalits, Muslims worst hit

By Rajiv Shah
An authoritative survey, carried out by a group of academics and social workers, among low-income settlements in Ahmedabad during the Narendra Modi-announced Covid-19 lockdown, has said a whopping 37% of the households did not receive any free ration from the government. Of those who did receive ration (59% households), Dalits or scheduled caste (SC) and minority communities were found to be at the receiving end.
Carried out among 759 households, the survey was carried out to ascertain whether the Central and state government schemes announced for free ration from the public distribution system (PDS) for April, May and June to all the needy – including Antyodaya, below and above poverty live ration card holders, as well as non-ration cardholders – was made available.
The survey covered 759 households in 64 slums and low-income localities, spread over 29 of the total 48 wards of the city, 32 % of whom were upper caste Hindus, 35% Muslims, 9% were other backward class (OBC), 18% were SCs and 5% scheduled tribes (STs). The average household size of sampled households was 5.11.
Titled “Access to Relief Entitlements and Implementation of Central Government Directives”, the survey report says, “The mean number of days for which free ration was received from the government was lowest among the SC community (15 days), followed by Muslims (16 days), OBCs (18 days), and Hindu upper-caste (20 days).”
Prepared under the banner of the Citizens for Shelter and Housing Alliance (CISHAA), the report has been authored by Prof Darshini Mahadevia and Dr Renu Desai, urban planning experts with the Ahmedabad University and the CEPT University, respectively, with the help of the city-based civil society organizations (CSOs) Saath Charitable Trust, Centre for Development, Mahila Housing Trust, Prayas Centre for Labour Research and Action, and the Human Development Resource Centre.
A whopping 85% of the households reported that pregnant women did not receive any nutritious food during the lockdown
The survey found that 567 households of the 759 surveyed households, that is 74.7 %, had ration cards. Of the 192 or 25.3% households who did not have ration cards, 61 (31%) were tenants, while the remaining 131 (69%) were non-tenants. The latter “included households who owned their house, households who had been resettled in economically weaker section (EWS) housing but were not yet owners of the house, households living in kutcha shacks on footpaths or government land.”
Suspecting that many of those who did not have ration cards were migrant workers, the report says, “Of the 567 households having ration card, 22.8% (129 households) had not received any free ration from the government; 18.7 % were from the APL category, 3.9 % were from the BPL category and 0.2 % were from Antyodaya (poorest of the poor) category.”
The reasons for almost one-fourth of the households with ration card not getting free ration included “the confusion regarding whether APL card holders were to be given free ration”. Even though APL cardholders without the National Food Security Act (NFSA) stamp on their ration card were eligible for free ration, “in some areas the ration shop owners gave free ration only to APL cardholders who had the NFSA stamp.”
Other reasons for not getting ration included “ration shops in certain areas remaining open for very less time during the lockdown, making it difficult for all to get free ration; ration shops getting inadequate quota from the central public distribution system (PDS) supply”; and “ration shop owners selling “ration to people on the black market, revealing that corruption played a role in denying food relief entitlements.”
The report underlines, despite the Gujarat government’s Anna Brahma Yojana which was supposed to give food relief through PDS to non-ration cardholders such as migrants, destitute, etc., “Of the 192 households without ration card, 79.7% (153 households) did not receive any free ration from the government.”
Then there was another difficulty. “The government had engaged the government school teachers to fill forms of those without ration card, and people were to be given free ration based on this identification process. However, each school was given only 100 forms for their teachers to fill, and therefore if there were more than this number of non-ration cardholders, then they got left out of the identification and were therefore denied free ration.”
Coming to other government schemes announced for the lockdown, the report notes, a whopping 85% of the households reported that pregnant women “did not receive any nutritious food during the lockdown”, adding, among them “the Muslim households fared the worst.” However, as for children, which were to be provided food by anganwadis. only 15% households reported they “did receive some food from the anganwadi in their area.”
Despite the government announcement that there would be direct cash transfers to the poorer households, 284 of the total 759 surveyed households (37.4%) “either had no Jan Dhan account or had a dormant account”, while “25.2% had a Jan Dhan account and received a cash transfer while 17.9% had a Jan Dhan account but had either not received a cash transfer or did not know if they received a cash transfer.”
Of the 184 households who did receive a cash transfer, 151 reported receiving Rs 500 (first instalment) while remaining 33 households reported receiving Rs 1,000, the survey says, though adding, it is quite possible that several of the households may have received cash after the main survey work ended (May 17), though many said, they did not know of the second instalment as they could not go to their bank.
Given this overall framework, the survey report says, several CSOs and citizen groups carried out relief work in the lockdown period. Thus, as many as “278 households of the total 759 surveyed households, that is 36.6%, reported receiving ration from a social organisation”, adding, “The mean number of days for which ration was received from social organisations was only 13 days.”

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.

Union budget 'mum' on relief to marginalised communities facing climate change impact

Counterview Desk  ActionAid, an international advocacy group which claims to work for a world without poverty, patriarchy and injustice, has wondered if the Union budget 2023-24, which is being acclaimed for providing succour to the middle classes, has anything to offer to the India's poor. In a statement, it said, while the budget may have "prioritised inclusive development", the financial outlay for ensuring it "does not show the zeal as hoped." Stating that the Finance Minister said Rs 35,000 crore revenue would have to be "forgone" due to a reduction in personal income taxes, "fiscal prudence is not enough to expand public employment, social security, welfare, education and health expenditures considerably." "The need of the hour is to raise revenues through the reduction of revenues forgone and innovative mechanisms such as wealth tax on super accumulation of wealth", it added. Text: The Union Budget 2023 has given significant

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".

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

New rules to make lakhs of tribals vulnerable to summary eviction: NAPM tells MPs

Counterview Desk  The top civil rights network, National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), has said that the new Forest (Conservation) Rules 2022, pending in Parliament and may be passed any day in the current Budget session, needs to be “strongly opposed” in Parliament. These Rules will allow easy diversion of forest land for projects and companies without the consent of gram sabhas and will allow the eviction of forest communities without the recognition of forest rights”, it alleged.

Lack of welfare schemes, BSF curbs force West Bengal farmers to migrate far away

Counteview Desk  In a representation to the National Human Rights Commission chairperson, a senior West Bengal based activist has complained that villagers living near the border with Bangladesh are forced to migrate to as far away as Mumbai and Kerala because of lack of government sensitivity towards their welfare in original villages. Giving specific instances, Kirity Roy, secretary, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), said, if the Border Security Force (BSF) had not put any restriction on agricultural activities, and if villages had properly implemented welfare schemes, these people would never migrate to other States. Text: I want to attract your immediate attention to the inhumane condition of the migrated workers of Gobra village, Swarupnagar Block in North 24 Parganas district of West Bengal to seek your urgent intervention to protect the rights of these people. Gobra is a village situated near the Indo-Bangladesh Border where the border fencing is about 500 meters i

FSSAI 'refusing to empower' citizens to have their right to informed choice on GMO

Counterview Desk  The advocacy group Coalition for a GM-Free India in response to Food Safety and Standards Authority of India's FSSAI’s) “weak forms” for licensing of GM foods, has insisted on the need to have “strong regulations to ensure safe food for citizens”. Stating that this form is different from the FSSAI GM draft regulation which had come out recently for which it had shared its response, the NGO network said in letter to Pushp Vanam, joint director, Science and Standards, FSSAI, it is problematic that these forms were not shared at the same time as the GM regulation draft as it would have enabled more people who read and respond to it. Text: This is in regards to the notification from FSSAI asking for inputs on the forms. We find it problematic that these forms were not shared at the same time as the GM Regulation draft as it would have enabled more people who read and responded on the regulation draft to have been able to comment on the forms too. Our response to the