To pass biometric ID, apply Vaseline or Boroplus on fingers overnight #WTFnews #UID #Aadhaar


ANUMEHA YADAV, Dec 16, 2012, The Hindu

The technical glitches that plague cash transfers in Jharkhand may not have arisen with a simpler system that does not need Internet connectivity

Pilot cash transfer projects taken up in Jharkhand for MGNREGA wages have achieved little success due to a variety of logistical, human and technological problems. A year after the launch of these projects, the problems remain unsolved.

In Ramgarh district, a majority of the beneficiaries are in Dohakatu and Marar panchayats of Ramgarh block. Over 63,000 people enrolled for Aadhaar numbers in the two panchayats in Ramgarh block. Of these, only 2,312 were “mapped”, i.e., their Aadhaar numbers and their welfare details were linked together. Of 4,791 “active” job-card holders in the two panchayats, only 469 received MGNREGA payments through Aadhar-Enabled Cash Transfers (AECTs). Fifty km away in Ratu block in Ranchi, of 8,231 “active” job-card holders in three panchayats, those paid through AECTs was even lower: 162.

Under strain

Ramgarh District Collector Amitabh Kaushal, who has been awarded the National Aadhaar Governance Award two years in a row, admits that the district’s administrative capacity is under strain and banks are not able to cope with the volume of transactions. Of eight banks on the Aadhaar platform, five got added only last month.

In Ramgarh and Ranchi, all accounts have so far been linked with the service area bank, Bank of India. “Initially many people turned up to enrol without their MGNREGA job-cards. So now we have to physically go house to house to find every job-card holder. In some places there was high enrolment but no BoI branch, in other places a branch existed but little enrolment,” says Mr. Kaushal. He rattles off a list of other concerns — bank technology upgrading, Internet connectivity in hilly areas, and availability, security and integrity of the cash-carrying Banking Correspondents (BCs).

At the Panchayat Bhavan at Dohakatu where most of the MGNREGA payments recorded were made, the BC, Rajesh Kumar, tries to rush through filling beneficiaries’ bank forms online — he has been asked to submit them by December 15 — but runs into many interruptions. “The line [power] came back only at noon. Last week two days there was no power and then there were server problems,” he says. But at three p.m., when he begins making payments to those who have queued up to collect wages for land-levelling work done under MGNREGA in November, there is anxiety but palpable excitement too.

Disappointments

Of the seven workers who take turns to scan their fingers, the micro-ATM Mr. Kumar operates recognises four. He pays them between Rs. 300-200 from the cash he withdrew at the bank that morning. For two workers the micro-ATM lists errors repeatedly. One worker’s account has still not been mapped. Of four pension beneficiaries who turn up, three collect their payments within an hour.

Dashay Bediya, a frail agricultural worker in a white shirt and dhoti, tries eight times, placing different fingers in the hope that one will work and then goes outside the office and scrubs his hands. He returns and tries five times more getting more anxious and disappointed each time. “Come after three to four days. Put Vaseline or Boroplus and rub your fingers before you go to sleep,” Mr. Kumar instructs before sending him back. And so the question, can the ease of payments at the household or panchayat level not be better achieved through smart cards that require neither real-time Internet connectivity, nor the creation of a massive centralised database like UIDAI’s that makes it harder to include those who missed enrolment the first time?

Dohakatu has had such a bevy of bureaucrats, officials and journalists visiting for months that the sarpanch, Kalawati Devi, now keeps a stock of mineral water bottles at the Panchayat Bhavan. At the site of the second pilot in Ratu block, however, things have not gone so smoothly even during officials’ visits. A few days before October 2 when the Chief Secretary of Jharkhand was to hand over pensions through AECTs at a function at Tigra panchayat, block officials and BCs tried frantically to make the fingerprints verification go through for 45 beneficiaries. It worked only in the case of nine.

Since October 2, even these nine have not been paid through AECTs even once, their payments still going to their old post-office accounts. The only reason they are still able to get their pensions is that the government kept open the option to withdraw the money at the post-office using their old passbooks.

“Half of MGNREGA workers’ fingerprints do not match. Maybe their fingerprints keep changing? In March I gave pension beneficiaries ID proofs to BoI so they open accounts and give passbooks. Then the bank manager changed in June and bank officials say they lost the documents. I gave the documents again in September but everyone is still waiting for passbooks,” says Tulsi Koeri, the BC in Puriyo panchayat, Ranchi.

The BC in nearby Tigra panchayat, Mahmood Alam, says of 383 whose MGNREGA accounts were mapped with Aadhaar since last December, only 102 have got passbooks, making it difficult for them to withdraw wages if they run into authentication or Internet connectivity problems.

Missing wages

Neither Mr. Koeri, nor Mr. Alam has been paid their monthly salary of Rs. 2,100 since they were hired as BCs last November by United Telecoms Limited (UTL) that BoI outsourced the work to. Mr. Kumar, Ramgarh’s BC, got paid for four months after the Collector, Mr. Kaushal, intervened in June. Even he has not been paid the last six months.

“I spend at least Rs. 400 per month on fuel for this work. In October at the PM’s video conference three of us were sent from Ratu, we paid over Rs. 2 lakh those three days. There have been 18-20 functions with officials from Delhi, Bangalore, even America. But if I ask for wages, UTL says if you do not like the work you can quit. Could you ask them about our wages please?” asks Mr Koeri.

anumeha.y@thehindu.co.in

 

Dalits were beaten up for resisting power theft by Police and upper castes men


Patna: A mahadalit community was beaten up when they were resisting power theft from their community transformer, first by upper caste men and later, by local policemen at Adilapur in Neora under Bihata Police station, on Thursday night, 25 km east Patna.

On Thursday night, when the musahar community, the lowest in caste hierarchy of Hindu religion, men had stopped the upper caste men from hooking up their wire to their community transformer for electricity. This incident left six dalits injured.

According to Bawa nath Manjhi, 40, who didn’t bear any physical injury but made claim of internal shoulder injury, says; ‘They (upper caste men) had disconnected our wire from their transformer a year ago. How could we allow them from our community transformer’.

Adilpur village had only one transformer of 63 KV, a year ago, which was often got defunct due to over load shedding. The upper caste men, who claimed their transformer, had hooked off the wire of mahadalit houses.

The upper caste dominated village has sizeable Musahar population.

The mahadalit community also got their transformer, under mahadalit vikas yojana scheme, in their parts of village, in last October, 2011.

The conflict started from this 17 June, 2012, when the old transformer (of upper caste) got dysfunctional.

‘We allowed them for three days when they gave assurance that they would un-hook their wire without delay’ claimed Bhuneshwar Manjhi, 22, who also bear the brunt of police cane on thigh and hands.

‘When we unhooked their wire on 21 June, they got angry and attacked on us’ added Bhuneshwar.

‘Then after we moved to police station for our security but they didn’t listen and rudely asked us to move away’ says Anuj manjhi, 25 yrs.

Anuj further added ‘Later, we went to our Panchayat head, Swami Nath paswan, who suggested us to block the Bihata-Khagaul road’

 

‘Our move infuriated the Bihata police station and ordered the policemen to charge their cane. This led to more injury’ says Raj Kumari, 50, whose right hand faced the police cane and got swelling.

Inspector of Bihta Police station, Dineshwar Prasad, had not responded even after repeated attempt. While, Sub-Inspector, Rajesh Kumar denied incident of cane charge. ‘They came to police station; we didn’t get any written complaint, yet. Mr Dineshwar Prasad handled them’ says Mr Kumar.

Dhananjay Sharma, an upper caste man of Adilabad village, alleged the musahar as evil of society and made claim over the transformer, also.

 

‘The transformer is of the government, not of the community’ says belligerent Sharma.

Rastriya Janta Dal, general secretary (Youth wing), Shiv Chander Ram had, also, visited the incident site.

from-  Jitendra, jitenchoubey@gmail.com