The State Government of Maharashtra had rolled out the replacement of the Public Distribution System (PDS) to Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) last month which hasn’t gone down well with the activists. According to the new system, the underprivileged will receive cash directly transferred into their accounts instead of being able to avail ration. The Anna Adhikar Abhiyan (AAA) is a group of activists who are protesting state-wise against this decision on 21st September reports the Mumbai Mirror.
Cash Against Food
The group AAA is holding a protest as they feel that the cash given to the underprivileged against food will be insufficient while buying grain from the open market. “We are organising a mass agitation to protest against the recent directive, as this amounts to diluting the National Food Security Act. Though the government has said it will provide minimum support price for the grains, it will turn out to be more expensive for the beneficiary,” Ulka Mahajan from AAA told the Mumbai Mirror.
She also added that, “There is no guarantee that the cash transfer will be used to buy food. Poor families are often debt-ridden and are usually in immediate need of cash for other expenses. Also, with cash transfer, the amount will be fixed and not vary with inflation. This will not offer protection to poor families against rising prices.” Besides this the activists feel that the government should have taken the step post consulting with its stakeholders which is the social organisations and the farmers’ bodies.