‘Business’ is booming, thanks to order that BPL card holders must furnish income certificate
Touts have always made a killing, be it supplying income or caste certificates, and now their ‘business’ has received a boost with a recent government directive that all below poverty line (BPL) card holders must furnish income certificate.
At their doorstep
While this has meant many ‘customers’ near the tahsildar’s offices, which are seeing endless queues, the criterion has also opened up a new way of conducting ‘business’ — the ‘door delivery’ system.
Geeta V.N., a 45-year-old domestic help at Hosakerehalli, has paid Rs. 750 to a ‘friend’ of the person who runs the ration shop to get her an income certificate. “The ration shop owner told us that we can either pay and have the certificates delivered right here or [come] get it ourselves,” said Ms. Geeta, who has borrowed the money from her employer.
She said that more than 200 people in her area had paid up. “I cannot afford to spend a whole day, or maybe days, waiting in the queue,” she said.
Yashoda M., a resident of Koramangala, said those who do not go through middlemen also find it tough to convince revenue officials of their income.
“The revenue inspector has asked many in our area how they can make a living in Bangalore on Rs. 17,000 a year, which is the ceiling for a BPL card.”
Several people have been issued cards certifying income level at Rs. 36,000, which automatically disqualifies them from the category of ‘poor’.
Many of the domestic help this correspondent spoke to admitted that they earned Rs. 3,000 a month, but could not survive without subsidised foodgrains, given the skyrocketing prices. “It is not possible to get rice for less than Rs. 20 a kg. How do they think we can manage if we don’t get ration?” said one of them.
Geeta Menon of Stree Jagruti Samiti said the poor were pushed to a situation where they had to enter a system of corruption. “Food subsidy is made out to be a favour in this system and also a means of entering corruption. What are the choices before the really deprived when the policy is flawed and an impossible criterion is fixed for a family to be deemed ‘poor’?”
She said people who had launched a countrywide movement against corruption would do well to take up a practical issue such as this and aid hapless people who were caught in a cycle of corruption around the public distribution system. “They should campaign for change in such policies that lead to corruption.”
Meanwhile, taluk offices are trying to handle the rush with additional computers and manpower.
Deputy Commissioner of Bangalore Urban M.K. Aiyappa said 17 Nada Kacheris (sub-offices for every taluk office) would be opened in Bangalore shortly to decentralise the processes.
Many domestic help say they earn Rs. 3,000 a month, but can’t survive without subsidised grain ‘The poor are pushed to a situation where they have to enter a system of corruption’
Many domestic help say they earn Rs. 3,000 a month, but can’t survive without subsidised grain
‘The poor are pushed to a situation where they have to enter a system of corruption’