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IMMEDIATE RELEASE- Cash Transfers and UID: Essential Demands

200 px

200 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

 

We support cash transfers such as old age pensions, widow pensions, maternity entitlements and scholarships. However, we oppose the government’s plan for accelerated mass conversion of welfare schemes to -driven cash transfers. This plan could cause havoc and massive social exclusion. We demand the following:

 

 

1. No replacement of food with cash under the Public Distribution System.

 

 

The is a vital source of economic security and nutrition support for millions of people. It should be expanded and consolidated, not dismantled.

 

 

2. Immediate enactment of a comprehensive National Food Security Act, including universal PDS.

 

 

Instead of diverting the public’s attention with promises of mass cash transfers before the 2014 elections, the government should redeem its promise to enact a National Food Security Act (NFSA).

 

 

3. Cash transfers should not substitute for public services.

 

 

While some schemes are useful, they should complement, notsubstitute for the provision of public services such as health care, school education, water supply, basic amenities, and the PDS. These services remain grossly under-funded.

 

 

4. Expand and improve appropriate cash transfers without waiting for UID.

 

 

There is no need to wait for UID to expand and improve positive cash transfer schemes such as pensions, scholarships and maternity entitlements. For instance, social security pensions should be increased and universalized.

 

 

5. No UID enrolment without a legal framework.

 

 

Millions of people are being enrolled for UID without any legal safeguards. The UIDAI’s draft bill has been rejected by a parliamentary standing committee. UID enrolment should be halted until a sound legal framework is in place.

 

 

6. All UID applications should be voluntary, not compulsory.

 

 

UID should never be a condition for anyone to access any entitlements or public services. A convenient alternative should always be available.

 

 

7. UID should be kept out of the PDS, NREGA and other essential entitlement programmes for the time being.

 

 

Essential services are not a suitable field of experimentation for a highly centralised and uncertain technology. Other applications (e.g. to tax evasion) should be tried first.

 

 

Explanatory Note:

 

Why we Oppose the Rush to Cash Transfers and UID

 

 

We support cash transfers such as old age pensions, widow pensions, maternity entitlements and scholarships. In fact, many of us have been part of struggles to expand social security pensions and improve their delivery. We also support appropriate, people-friendly uses of modern technology for this purpose.

 

 

However, we have serious reservations about the government’s rush to link these cash transfers to “Aadhaar”, the unique identity (UID) number. This is because the linking of these schemes can cause huge disruption – think of an old man who is currently getting his pension from the local post office, but will now have to run around getting his “UID-enabled” bank account activated and then may find his pension held up by fingerprints problems, connectivity issues, power failures, truant “business correspondents”, and what not.

 

 

We are also firmly opposed to the introduction of cash transfers in lieu of food and other commodities supplied through the , for many reasons. One, subsidized food from the PDS is a source of food and economic security for millions of poor families. In 2009-10, implicit transfers from the PDS wiped out about one fifth of the “poverty gap” at the national level, and close to one half of it in states like Tamil Nadu and . Recent experience also shows that it is possible to further revamp and reform the PDS without delay.

 

 

Two, the banking system in rural areas is not ready to handle large volumes of small transfers. Banks are often far and overcrowded. The alleged solution, banking correspondents, is fraught with problems. Post offices could possibly be converted into useful payment agencies, but this will take time.

 

 

Three, rural markets are often poorly developed. Dismantling the PDS would disrupt the flow of food across the country and put many people at the mercy of local traders and middlemen.

 

 

Four, there are concerns of special groups such as single women, disabled persons and the elderly who cannot easily move around to withdraw their cash and buy food from distant markets.

 

 

Last but not least, inflation could easily erode the purchasing power of cash transfers. When the government refuses to index pensions or NREGA wages, how can it be trusted to index cash transfers to the price level? Even if some indexation does happen, small delays or gaps in price information could cause significant hardship for poor people.

 

 

The Kotkasim fiasco is a telling example of the potentially disruptive effects of inappropriate cash transfer schemes. The experiment was launched with much fanfare and immediately projected as a “stunning success” based on the fact that kerosene subsidy expenditure had declined by 80%, but in fact, the main reason for this decline was the collapse of the entire kerosene distribution system.

 

 

An impression has been created that the government is all set to launch UID-enabled cash transfers on a mass scale before the 2014 elections. This is very misleading, and looks like an attempt to make people rush to UID enrolment centres. This announcement also diverts attention from the government’s failure to enact a National Food Security Act. The food security bill, very weak in the first place, has been languishing with a Standing Committee for a whole year. Meanwhile, food stocks are accumulating on an unprecedented scale. The need of the hour is a comprehensive National Food Security Act, not a potentially disruptive rush for UID-driven cash transfers.

 

 

List of Signatories

 

  1. Sunil Abraham, Centre for Internet and Society

  2. Pushpa Achanta, Writer

  3. Bina Agarwal, Professor, Institute of Economic Growth

  4. Samantha Agarwal, Activist, Raipur

  5. Ankita Aggarwal, Researcher, New Delhi

  6. Ashutosh Agrawal, Student

  7. Anivar Aravind, Entrepreneur, Technology Manager

  8. Chirashree Das Gupta, Ambedkar University

  9. Indu Agnihotri, Director, Centre for Women’s Development Studies

  10. Sohail Akbar, Associate Professor, Jamia Milia Islamia

  11. Evangeline Anderson-Rajkumar, United Theological College Bangalore

  12. Janki Andharia, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  13. Sadhna Arya, University of Delhi and Saheli Women’s Resource Centre

  14. K.V. Nagesh Babu, Assistant Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  15. Amiya Kumar Bagchi, Vice Chancellor, Tripura University

  16. Megha Bahl Student, Faculty of Law, University of Delhi

  17. Arindam Banerjee, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  18. Arindam Banerjee, Assistant Professor, Ambedkar University

  19. Sreshtha Banerjee, Social Activist

  20. Sanjay (Xonzoi) Barbora, Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Guwahati)

  21. Kripa Basnyat, PWESCR, Programme on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

  22. Moushumi Basu, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  23. Akansha Batra, Junior Research Fellow, Indian Statistical Institute

  24. Anjali Bhardwaj, Satark Nagrik Sangathan

  25. Bharat Bhatti, Student, Ambedkar University

  26. Kiran Bhatty, Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research

  27. Praful Bidwai, Journalist

  28. Ramila Bisht, Associate Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  29. Arudra Burra

  30. Kathyayini Chamaraj, Journalist

  31. C.P. Chandrashekhar, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  32. Sarika Chaturvedi, Ph D scholar, Karolinska Institute, Sweden

  33. Aheli Chowdhury, JOSH, Delhi

  34. Arati Choksi, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Bangalore

  35. Gowru Chinnapa, Bangalore

  36. Priti Darooka, PWESCR, Programme on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

  37. Jitu Das, Alghanim Industries

  38. Asit Das

  39. Anirban Dasgupta, South Asia University

  40. Jashodhara Dasgupta, National Alliance for Maternal Health and Human Rights

  41. Saurav Datta

  42. Ashwini Deshpande, Professor, Delhi School of Economics

  43. Ritu Dewan, Mumbai University

  44. Nikhil Dey, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan

  45. Harish Dhawan, Associate Professor in Economics, University of Delhi

  46. Arundhati Dhuru, National Alliance of People’s Movements

  47. Gabriele Dietrich, National Alliance of People’s Movements

  48. Sarah Dobinson, PWESCR Programme on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

  49. Jean Drèze, Visiting Professor, Allahabad University

  50. Ajit Eapen

  51. Warisha Farasat, Lawyer

  52. Jayati Ghosh, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  53. Kaveri Gill, Independent researcher

  54. S. S. Gill,  Director General, CRRID, Chandigarh

  55. Paranjoy Guha Thakurta, Journalist

  56. Aashish Gupta, Research Assistant, Allahabad University

  57. Ruchi Gupta, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information

  58. Zoya Hasan, Professor, Centre for Political Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  59. Neeraj Hatekar, Professor, Department of Economics, University of Mumbai

  60. Rohini Hensman, Independent scholar and author

  61. Himanshu, Assistant Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  62. Danish Husain, Actor

  63. Indira C, Researcher Public Health, Delhi

  64. Kaveri Rajaraman Indira, Concern, Indian Institute of Science

  65. Jaya Iyer, Khadya Nyaya Abhiyan

  66. Devaki Jain

  67. K.P. Jayasankar, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  68. Praveen Jha, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  69. Sadan Jha, Assistant Professor, Centre for Social Studies, Surat

  70. Ravinder Jha, Miranda House, University of Delhi

  71. Rajiv Jha, Shri Ram College of Commerce, University of Delhi

  72. Amrita Johri, Satark Nagrik Sangathan

  73. Sunny Jose, Associate Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  74. Aleesha Mary Joseph, Student, St. Stephen’s College

  75. Deep Joshi

  76. Vijay Lakshmi Joshi, People’s Union for Civil Liberties

  77. K. P. Kannan, Chairman, Lawry Baker Institute of Habitat Studies, Thiruvantanthapuram

  78. Anirban Kar, Associate Professor, Delhi School of Economics

  79. Ashok Khandelwal, Economist

  80. Madhulika Khanna, Researcher, New Delhi

  81. Sushil Khanna, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta

  82. Reetika Khera, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

  83. Asha Kilaru, Public Health Researcher, Bangalore

  84. Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh

  85. Subasri Krishnan, Filmmaker

  86. Kavita Krishnan, CPI(ML) Liberation

  87. Abhay Kumar, Karnataka

  88. Richa Kumar, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi.

  89. Awanish Kumar, Ph.D. Scholar, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  90. Madhuresh Kumar, National Alliance of People’s Movements

  91. A.K. Shiva Kumar, Economist

  92. Lawrence Liang, Alternative Law Forum

  93. Kamayani Bali Mahabal, Advocate

  94. Neeraj Malik, University of Delhi

  95. Anubhuti Maurya, Bharati College, University of Delhi

  96. Surajit Mazumdar

  97. Indrani Mazumdar, Centre for Women’s Development Studies

  98. Bhanwar Meghvanshi, Dalit Adivasi Aur Ghumantu Adhikar Abhiyan, Rajasthan

  99. Subhash Mendhapurkar, SUTRA, Himachal Pradesh

  100. Aggie Menezes, Associate Professor, St Xavier’s College

  101. Mira Mehta, Department of Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland

  102. Kalpana Mehta, Manasi Swasthya Sansthan, Indore

  103. Ritambhara Mehta, Independent Researcher

  104. Nivedita Menon, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  105. Rajkishore Mishra, Orissa

  106. Srijith Mishra, Associate Professor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research

  107. Gautam Mody, Secretary, New Trade Union Initiative

  108. Mritiunjoy Mohanty, Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta

  109. Sanat Mohanty, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi

  110. Anjali Monteiro, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  111. Vipul Mudgal, Inclusive Media for Change, Centre for the Study of Developing Societies

  112. Prakriti Mukerjee, Yoda Press

  113. Poonam Muttreja, Population Foundation of

  114. Tithi Nandy, Healthwatch Forum Uttar Pradesh

  115. R. Nagaraj, Professor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research

  116. Farah Naqvi, Writer and Activist

  117. Sudha Narayanan, Assistant Professor, Indira Gandhi Institute of Development Research

  118. Rajendran Narayanan, Visiting Scientist, Indian Statistical Institute

  119. Arvind Narrain, Alternative Law Forum

  120. Saboohi Nasim, Assistant Professor, Aligarh Muslim University

  121. Balaji Narsimhan

  122. Nandini Nayak, School of African and Oriental Studies, University of London

  123. P. Niranjana, Assistant Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  124. V.P. Niranjanaradhya, National Law School of India University

  125. Claire Noronha, Collaborative Research and Dissemination

  126. Madhurima Nundy, Institute of Chinese Studies

  127. Gangaram Paikra, Right to Food Campaign, Chhattisgarh

  128. Parthapratim Pal, Associate Professor, Indian Institute of Management Calcutta

  129. Sandeep Pandey, National Alliance of People’s Movements

  130. Soma Kishore Parthasarathy, PhD scholar, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay

  131. Medha Patkar, National Alliance of People’s Movements

  132. Prabhat Patnaik, Retired Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  133. Utsa Patnaik, Retired Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  134. Boban V. Paul, NGO professional

  135. Pamela Philipose, Director, Women’s Features Services

  136. Neetha Pillai, Senior Fellow, Centre for Women’s Development Studies

  137. Dr Prabir, Independent Consultant, West Bengal

  138. Pranesh Prakash, Law and Policy Researcher

  139. Mythri Prasad, Researcher, French Institute of Pondicherry

  140. T. V. H. Prathamesh, Research Scholar, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore

  141. Raghav Puri, Independent Researcher

  142. Pushpendra, Director, Centre for Social Studies, Surat

  143. Kalyani Raghunathan, Ph.D. Scholar, Cornell University

  144. Annie Raja, National Federation of Indian Women

  145. Jawahar Raja, Advocate, Delhi

  146. Suvrat Raju, Reader, International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Mumbai

  147. R. Ramakumar, Associate Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai

  148. Kannama Raman, Associate Professor, University of Mumbai

  149. Usha Ramanathan, Legal Researcher

  150. Ashish Ranjan, Birla Institute of Technology, Patna

  151. Bharat Rastogi, Graduate student, University of California Santa Barbara

  152. Savitri Ray, FORCES Network, Centre for Women’s Development Studies

  153. Mohan Rao, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  154. E. Rati Rao, People’s Union for Civil Liberties Karnataka

  155. Vidya Rao, Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Rajasthan

  156. D. Narsimha Reddy, Chair Professor, NIRD, Hyderabad

  157. Rammanohar Reddy, Editor, Economic and Political Weekly

  158. Dr. K. Srinath Reddy

  159. Ira Regmi, Student, Lady Shri Ram College for Women

  160. Rohit, Assistant Professor, South Asia University

  161. Aruna Roy, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan

  162. Saheli Women’s Resource Centre Sahyogi, Patna

  163. Preeti Sampat, Independent Researcher

  164. Meera Samson, Collaborative Research and Dissemination

  165. Sunil D. Santha, Assistant Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  166. Radha Kant Saxena, People’s Union for Civil Liberties

  167. Sukla Sen, EKTA (Committee for Communal Amity), Mumbai

  168. S. Seshan

  169. Sudeshna Sengupta, Mobile Crèches

  170. Mitu Sengupta, Centre for Human Development and Human Rights, New Delhi

  171. Prem Krishan Sharma, President, People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Rajasthan

  172. Saurabh Sharma, JOSH, Delhi

  173. Veena Shatrugna, Former Deputy Director, National Institute of Nutrition

  174. Jeevika Shiv

  175. Dr. Mira Shiva, Initiative for Health & Equity in Society

  176. Rama Shyam, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  177. Aditya Shrivastava, Advocate

  178. Shankar Singh, Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sangathan

  179. Bhanwar Singh, Astha

  180. Mahipal Singh, National Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties

  181. Paramjeet Singh, People’s Union for Democratic Rights

  182. Surjit Singh, Director, Institute of Development Studies, Jaipur

  183. Dipa Sinha, Ph.D. Scholar, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  184. Shantha Sinha, National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights

  185. Ahmed Sohaib, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association

  186. Gautam Sonti

  187. Vivek Srinivasan, Stanford University

  188. Nisha Srivastava, University of Allahabad

  189. Ravi Srivastava, Professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University

  190. Shambhavi Srivastava, Graduate student, University of British Columbia

  191. Kavita Srivastava, National Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties

  192. Sulakshana, Right to Food Campaign, Chhattisgarh

  193. Nandini Sundar, University of Delhi

  194. Mayur Suresh, Ph.D. Scholar, University of London

  195. V. Suresh, General Secretary, People’s Union for Civil Liberties

  196. Kamayani Swami, Jan Jagran Shakti Sangathan

  197. Padmini Swaminathan, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Hyderabad

  198. M.S. Swaminathan, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha

  199. Sharmila Tagore

  200. Krishan Takhar, People’s Union for Civil Liberties

  201. Vamsi Vakulabharanam, Reader, University of Hyderabad

  202. Padma Velaskar, Professor, Tata Institute of Social Sciences

  203. G. Vijay, Assistant Professor, School of Economics, University of Hyderabad

  204. M. Vijayabaskar, Madras Institute of Development Studies, Chennai

  205. Vimochana, Forum for Women’s Rights

  206. Achin Vanaik, Retired Professor, University of Delhi

  207. Sujata Visaria, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology

  208. Bezwada Wilson, Safai Karamchari Andolan

 

 

 

 

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Comments (4)

  1. […] IMMEDIATE RELEASE- Cash Transfers and UID: Essential Demands. […]

  2. Prasad Subramaniam

    UID is turning to be a monster in the democratic system of ours. Cash Transfers for not just PDS but I am also told that the government is going to start with Cash Transfers in all other subsidies they have been providing like LPG gas for instance. Cash Transfers in place National Food Security is a draconian act, we should all oppose it at any cost. There is a need to awake and make aware our citizens. Lets do it… UID without any legal framework should not be accepted. UID is also a threat to national security as many of the anti-nationals also would have made a UID card by now.

  3. […] IMMEDIATE RELEASE- Cash Transfers and UID: Essential Demands (kractivist.wordpress.com) […]

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