Public hearing reveals poor implementation of NFSA and other entitlement-based schemes

Public hearing reveals poor implementation of NFSA and other entitlement-based schemes


A national-level public hearing, which was organized at the Gandhi Peace Foundation (Delhi) on 15th March, 2018, has revealed that the intended beneficiaries of various entitlement-based welfare schemes and programmes of the Central government are witnessing difficulties and impediments in accessing the benefits and services.

During the public hearing, which was organized by the Right to Food Campaign along with partnering grassroots-level organizations, poor and marginalized citizens from across 14 states gave their testimonies in front of eminent citizens like Members of Parliament (MPs), lawyers, journalists, scholars and social activists. The statements made by those citizens indicate that many were denied ration cards, old age pension, disability pension or even aadhaar, although they had met their respective state’s criteria for inclusion in the entitlement-based schemes and programmes.

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A panel of eminent persons witnessing the public hearing organized by the Right to Food Campaign
Image Courtesy: Inclusive Media for Change


It was observed during the public hearing that people, who could not pass the aadhaar-based verification process successfully owing to various reasons such as fading of fingerprints or cataract, were denied their rightful ration by fair price shop (FPS) dealers. Several activists associated with the Right to Food Campaign at the ground-level stated how the poor and the marginalized, who were denied their ration due to the failure of aadhaar-based verification or even lack of aadhaar card, succumbed to illness and finally death subsequently because of starvation.

Please click here to access further information about these case studies and also to access the compilation of starvation deaths over the past two years.

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Citizens who came for giving their testimonies in the public hearing on 15th March, 2018
Image Courtesy: Inclusive Media for Change
 
On one hand, one came to know in the public hearing that the citizens faced difficulties in getting their aadhaar done due to dearth of sufficient address proof and/or identity proof. On the other hand, poor citizens, who had received their aadhaar, did not get the full benefits of various social welfare schemes on time like old age pension, disability pension, PDS ration etc despite trying their best. In short, having an aadhaar did not guaranty the beneficiaries proper delivery of services or benefits under various social welfare schemes/ programmes.   

Please click here to access the press release on the public hearing that was issued by the Right to Food Campaign on 15th March, 2018. 

In their memorandum (please click here to access), which is to be circulated among the MPs from 16th March onwards, the Right to Food Campaign, among other things, has demanded for stricter implementation of the NFSA, expansion of NFSA entitlements, effective implementation of the MGNREGA, putting an end to the mandatory integration of welfare with aadhaar, discontinuation of mandatory cash-for-food subsidy pilots at the block-level in various states, providing relief & rehabilitation for families affected by starvation deaths and an increase in social sector spending in the Union and state budgets.

Please click here for a presentation of summaries of close to a 100 case studies of citizens facing problems in accessing welfare benefits.  


References:

PDS Beneficiaries Oppose Cash Transfers In Nagri Block Of Jharkhand, News alert by Inclusive Media for Change dated 26 February, 2018, please click here to access

Right to Food Being Violated, Worsened By Aadhaar, Say People At Public Hearing, Newsclick.in, 15 March, 2018, please click here to access


Image Courtesy: Inclusive Media for Change/ Shambhu Ghatak and Right to Food Campaign



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