Defying order, Rajasthan gov’t allegedly distributes dry ration kit to family instead of all individuals

The joint memorandum of organizations has asked for a clarification in the matter


After writing to the government of Rajasthan and police authorities there about the communal treatment being given to hawkers in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak that has now been made more of a religion issue than a medical issue, the joint memorandum of organizations comprising PUCL Rajasthan, Center for Equity Studies (Rajasthan), Nirman and General Labour Union, Majdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan, Rajasthan Asangathit Mazdoor Union, Bharat Gyan Vigyan Samiti, Helping Hands Jaipur, Rajasthan RTI Manch and Jamait-e-Islami Hind have written to the Principal Secretary for Food and Consumer Supplies about the wrong interpretation and implementation of the government order regarding dry rations which was issued on March 23, 2020.

The Order can be read here:

According to the order issued on March 23rd, “individuals” from impoverished backgrounds and other needy would get 5 kgs of flour, ½ liter of oil, ½ kg salt, 1 kg dal and 1 kg rice free of cost to sustain them for 10 days.

In point 2 of the letter, the order states that “individuals” who do not wish to take 5 kgs of wheat, can opt for 5 kgs of rice and if the assigned quantity is more than what is needed, the individual can opt for a lesser quantity of items.

Point 3 says that these are immediate relief measures being made available for those “individuals” who are unable to fend for themselves during the Covid-19 outbreak and such individuals seeking such aid will not be required to show any documents for the same.

However, what has come to the notice of these organizations is that, the district administration is now calling this dry ration kit for individuals, a family kit and distributing it similarly. The letter by the organization states, “If there are 5 units in a family then your provision of 5 kgs of atta and 1 kg of rice for10 days, means that on an average a family of five will get 100 gms of cereal a day. This is not acceptable, in either policy or its implementation.”

The letter also says, “The ICMR guidelines are clear that on an average, a moderately hardworking mazdoor (adult) must get 14 kgs a month and a child 7 kgs a month and an elderly person 9 kgs. It is looking at this that the Government of India has agreed to give additional rations of 5kgs per unit to NFSA beneficiaries, which makes the entitlement, 5 + 5 = 10 kgs per unit. Thus a family of five, will get totally 50 kgs ration which will even out for the month for all.”

The letter hopes to bring to light this discrepancy and make sure that the distribution of dry ration won’t be just a token measure for NFSA beneficiaries. It reads, “We are sure that you would like to stand by the principle that the Government of Rajasthan has laid out for the lock down, which is that nobody will sleep hungry, koi bhukha na soye and therefore a clarification by you is required urgently to the districts.”

The letter also highlights that the FCI godowns have ample grains for distribution. It says, “More than 77 million metric tonnes are stocked with them and 25 million metric tonnes of Rabi is awaiting procurement. The Government of Rajasthan along with other state Governments, must impress upon the GOI immediately to release enough food grains free of cost for distribution and use for all Non NFSA beneficiaries.”

The letter also implores the government of Rajasthan to take note of the fact that migrant labourers who are stranded in cities, are entitled to NFSA benefits in their home states. As the Government of India has asked them to stay where they are due to the lockdown and to curb the spread of transmission, the organizations, through the letter, request that the GOI give an equal food entitlement to them and implement the order in spirit, by making the dry ration kit available for the individual and not for one family.

The entire letter by the group of organizations may be read below.


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