Covid-19 relief: When India doesn’t count the poor as workers

The labour ministry’s focus is on registered construction workers and provident fund subscribers, excluding a vast majority of the working poor. On March 29, four days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that all establishments and public transport would be shut down to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Rashmi Ahirwar and her husband, Rakesh, picked up their bags and left. They planned to walk 570 km to their village in Tikamgarh, Madhya Pradesh, to survive the lockdown. But the Ahirwars were turned back by the Delhi police. They had to walk back to the construction site in Delhi University’s South … Continue reading Covid-19 relief: When India doesn’t count the poor as workers

Hunger and deep distress in Delhi in lockdown

In the first month of lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the Delhi government enhanced food rations and distributed cooked food in night shelters and schools. But it wasn’t nearly enough. Full report here. Continue reading Hunger and deep distress in Delhi in lockdown

Sticky post

Bhilwara: In India’s first district to go on lockdown, workers battle hunger and uncertainty

Bhilwara, a textiles and sandstone mining hub, in India’s west was one of the first districts to be locked down following fears of community transmission. This is a report with phone interviews with brick workers, textile factory workers, miners and farm workers. Continue reading Bhilwara: In India’s first district to go on lockdown, workers battle hunger and uncertainty

Particularly vulnerable Adivasi speak of despair, hunger at tech “disruption” of social schemes

Jirua Parhaian and Dhaneshwar Parhaiya sat in front of the large crowd that had gathered to take stock of the effectiveness of public schemes in Jharkhand’s Manika block, under which which their village falls. They belong to the Parhaiya Adivasi community, which is classified as a “particularly vulnerable tribal group”. The elderly couple listened quietly while government officials acknowledged the problems that have prevented Parhaiya Adivasis from availing of government schemes meant for them. Both were frail and walked with difficulty. But they had traveled to Manika, the block centre, 15 km from their village Uchvabal, to attend the meeting … Continue reading Particularly vulnerable Adivasi speak of despair, hunger at tech “disruption” of social schemes

Radha Devi: Managing maladies in Bhuiantola

A path winding through paddy fields led to Bhuiantola, a hamlet where Bhuian Dalit families lived, on the outskirts of Tarwadih village in Jharkhand’s Latehar district. That month, eight individuals in Tarwadih were on treatment for tuberculosis(TB), a serious bacterial infection that most commonly affects the lungs. Four of them lived in Bhuiantola. The previous night, Radha Devi, the village sahiya or frontline health worker, an Accredited Social Health Activist(ASHA) had finished helping a woman delivery a baby in the hamlet. Now, walking down the paved path, she called out to Ramavtar Ram who was working in the fields. “Nine … Continue reading Radha Devi: Managing maladies in Bhuiantola

On India’s biometrics ID Aadhaar debate

JAM in Jharkhand: ‘Apply lemon juice, flour, Boroplus on fingers and pass biometrics test’ Fact check: Will restricting Aadhaar now affect crores of welfare recipients? Supreme Court ruling on Aadhaar leaves both government and critics unsatisfied An audit of ration shops after the introduction of Aadhaar revealed that many genuine beneficiaries couldn’t collect food grain due to system glitches. Student battles for right to obtain voter card without having to enrol for Aadhaar How the government got the Supreme Court’s approval to link subsidy schemes with Aadhaar India’s Unique Identity Dilemma isn’t about those who enrol in Aadhaar, but those … Continue reading On India’s biometrics ID Aadhaar debate

When public health schemes turn anaemic

Since 2010 when the central government discontinued the supply of medical kits containing Iron Folic Acid, vitamin A, zinc tablets and Oral Rehydration Solution packets under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) to states, village anganwadis and health centers have turned anaemic pregnant women and adoloscent girls away. These are essential for reducing anaemia and birth defects which affect 69.5 percent women and girls between 15 and 49 and over 70 percent of all children below five in Jharkhand – the highest levels of anaemia according to National Family Health Survey 2 and 3 done in 1999 and 2006. Over six … Continue reading When public health schemes turn anaemic

Away from home

MVI 1856 from Anumeha Yadav on Vimeo. Families from Chattisgarh and UP say they have been working in bonded debt in kilns in Sundarbani in Jammu and on outskirts of Srinagar since 15 to 20 years. They work in kilns in Jammu for 7-8 months and then are bought by kiln owners in Srinagar for the rest of the year when work closes in Jammu kilns. Naveen Kumar who is working in a kiln at Bhakar near Sundarbani is worked in the kilns in JK many years in is bonded debt of over Rs 1 lakh. My previous reports on … Continue reading Away from home