As the Government gets set to roll out direct cash transfer of subsidies in 20 districts from today, the Right to Food Campaign, a civil society umbrella organisation, has flagged concerns over the manner in which people are being enrolled for Aadhaar in three Rajasthan districts.

In a letter to the Chief Secretary, Rajasthan Government, C.K Mathew, the food activists said that people were being misinformed by the authorities in Alwar (among the 20 selected districts), Udaipur and Ajmer, where 34 schemes under the departments of Social Justice, Health, Minorities, Women and Child will be connected with Aadhaar.

In a public hearing held on December 22, “People who had come from the three districts shared shocking details as to how winter holidays in schools had been cancelled to enrol students for UID to show an impressive enrolment rate,” says the letter.

The letter quotes an activist from Kherwada (Udaipur) who said that the people were being told that they would get money immediately if they opened bank accounts, and another one who said that people were under the impression that they would get houses if they opened Aadhaar-enabled bank accounts. The Panchayats and Gram Sabhas, too, had little information on the processes, they said.

The letter asked the Chief Secretary for further clarity on issues such as whether Aadhaar would be compulsory or optional for the schemes covered by Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) and what norms and benefits would accrue to ordinary people from the rollout of the scheme.

Among other things, the letter also sought the pre-conditions for DBT roll-out scheduled for January 1 and whether these had been shared with people and whether the list of beneficiaries for the 34 schemes had been computerised and put in the public domain.

“We are clear that the State Government should not roll out the DBT schemes if the above has not been done,” said the letter, signed by IIT professor Reetika Khera, activists Bhanwar Singh, Nikhil Dey, Kavita Srivastava and many others.

(This article was published on December 31, 2012)
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