A memorandum was sent to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani by Shabari Sangathan on the International Women’s Day, March 8, for resolving issues pertaining to poor implementation of the National Food Security Act (NSFA), 2013, and corruption and delay in pension to widows, single mothers and old aged persons. Text:
On the occasion of International women’s day on 8th March 2017, we around 1500 women associated with Shabri Sangathan have gathered near Dandi Bridge, Ahmedabad. We have come from Banaskantha, Sabarkantha, Arvalli ,Mahisagar, Dahod and Panchmahal district.We have given memorandum of demands to all the district collectors and mamlatdar offices in the above mentioned districts. Till date no proceedings have been done on the same. So we had to represent the issue at Ahmedabad out of compulsion.
It has been almost 4 years since NFSA, 2013 has been passed by the Central Government. Gujarat has not properly implemented the Act. Gujarat government implemented NFSA, 2013 from 1th April 2016 under “Ma Annapurana yojana”. According to the NFSA 75% rural families and 50% urban families are eligible to get 5kg grains individually and Antyodaya families should get 35 kg grains. Under FSA there are provisions to provide Rs 2 per kg wheat, Rs 3per Kg rice and Rs 1 per kg other coarse grains, food allowance, Rs.6000 monetary benefit for pregnant women etc.But implementation of the provisions of the Act are not done in any of the districts of Gujarat.
Our demands are as follows
- According to NFSA, 2013, the state government has not made any priority or Antyodaya families list, which should be immediately prepared. This list should be available at all Panchayat, PDS shops, Mamlatdar and taluka panchayat for public to see for free of cost.
- Majority of the rural and urban area citizens as well as PDS shop owners are not aware about the NFSA. Therefore state government should advertise about the Food security Act immediately.
- In most of the PDS shops at various districts of Gujarat; Food security Act has not been implemented and supply of ration are not done according to the provisions of the act. The ration should be provided timely and those citizens who have not been provided ration according to the Act should be provided food allowance.
- PDS shops are open only for a day. Price of the grains is not written on the board in front of the ration shop. Boards are kept at shop owner’s house. PDS owners does not provide appropriate amount of grains. When women complain to PDS shop owners about irregularities in providing ration,PDS shop owners use abusive language and threaten women by saying “We pay bribe of Rs.10,000 to concerned officials every month, you can do whatever you want”.Legal action should be taken against such PDS shop owners and their license should be cancelled.
- While division of ration card, BPL is converted to APL card .When application is given for new ration card, APL card is issued. BPL card holder should receive BPL card itself while division.
- The ration shops charge Rs 10 as coupon fees to buy ration. Women have to travel between 3 and 5 km to reach the shops. Coupon fee should be stopped immediately.
- Under NFSA the ration card should be given on name of women head of the family. None of Women got ration card on their name so far. It should be given immediately.
- Single and old age women have not got Antyodaya card till date. All the single and old age women of the state should be provided Antyodaya card according provisions of Food Security Act.
- According to NFSA pregnant women should be provided Rs.6000 monetary benefit as well as food supplements but it has not been provided till date.All the pregnant women in the state should b provided Rs.6000 as well as food supplements accordingto the Act.
- In Gujarat there is 13607 Gram Panchayat and 18580 villages.There are only 17052 public distribution shops in the state, which includes PDS in rural as well as urban areas.This means there are no PDS shops in many villages of Gujarat.Our demand is that there should be compulsorily one PDS shop in every village.
- In Gujarat there is 50% reservation for women in Gram panchayat, so in 13607 village panchayat 50% sarpanchs are women.In all these panchayat there are 6803 PDS .Our demand is to give the responsibility of running these PDS shops to women sarpanch and gram panchayat.
Issues pertaining to Pension of single and old age women
- Majority of the single and old age women donot have BPL card and even if they have BPL card they donot come under 0-16 score.In addition to it the women who is eligible to get the benefit also doesnot get the benefit regularly.In most of the cases the time taken to get the benefit is around 3 to 6 months and that too after giving bribe at various levels such as Talati,Post office official,bank official,panchayat member etc.
- All the single women(widow,destitute) women and women above 60yrs should get monthly pension of Rs.2000. BPL,APL card rule should not be implied for this category.
- State government should make separate Acts and schemes for single(widow,destitute) women in the state for their social security,their children to have respectable life and for the development of their family and the acts which are in existence for single women should be strictly implemented.
- Single women should be provided financial help for nurturing their children in the same way as Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan has Vitiya Sahyog Yojana.Such schemes should be implemented in Gujarat as well.
- In each village Talati should prepare a list of number of single,destitute,widow and old age women .So that the list can be useful in formulating various schemes.
- Strict implementation should be done of providing Antyodaya card to all single and destitute women in the state.Women should be able to get benefit of all the government schemes.
- Pension scheme of women having son above 21 yrs of age is cancelled.This rule should be immediately stopped.
- Single and old age women having BPL card with score of 0 to 16 are provided pension.Widow and Old age pension should be provided to all single and old age women irrespective of their score in BPL card.
Issues related to Employment
- In unorganized sector all women should be provided equal pay for equal work.
- In agriculture Living wage of Rs.350 should be provided rather than minimum wage.
Issues related to MGNREGA
- Under MGNREGA land improvement works as well as water conservation work should be started immediately on the land entitled under FRA-2006.
- Farm pond as well as community well should be prepared under MGNREGA.
- Sufficient staff should be appointed for administration of MGNREGA scheme.
- Primary facilities such as drinking water facility, crèche, shade etc should be provided at MGNREGA site by the government.
- Social audit procedure should be conducted by holding Gramsabha for MGNREGA accounts in all the villages.
- Under MGNREGA scheme, land improvement works such as protection wall, Farm pond, trench, check dam etc should be started immediately.
- Under MGNREGA scheme governments should provide 200 days of individual employment rather than 100 days of employment.
- MGNREGA scheme should not have minimum wage rate. Workers should be provided Rs.350 daily employment.
- All types of documents should be issued immediately. Agent policy should be immediately stopped in implementing government schemes.
- Women’s health checkup should be done free of cost at all the government health centers.