Other States

Activists demand inclusion of newlywed women in PDS

The Odisha Right to Food Campaign, a forum of individuals spearheading the movement for food entitlements, said the government should implement inter-portability facility for newlywed women, whose names are struck off the public distribution system after their marriage.

According to RTF, Odisha, a large number of newlywed women are unable to access their share of ration as their names are cancelled from their parental card but not added to their marital cards.

The problem worsens further as families find it equally difficult to add names of children to the ration card.

“The State lacks a clear and transparent process to port names of migrated individuals or to add new individuals to ration cards. The process remains just as opaque and difficult to navigate despite the government implementing Aadhaar seeding, digitisation of PDS or even ‘One Nation One Ration Card’ scheme,” said Samit Panda, a lead member of RTF, Odisha.

Thousands of women migrate after marriage, and a large fraction of this section of population risks exclusion from PDS, he said.

The RTF, Odisha says the 2011 census shows that 46% of migration was due to marriage, of which 97%, or 20.58 crore migrants, were women.

78% population

“As high as 78% of Odisha’s population are PDS beneficiaries. Observing the widespread exclusion of women, it is estimated that at least ten lakh women have been left out from PDS since National Food Security Act came into force,” he pointed out.

Stating that access to food was under stress following the COVID-19 lockdown due to loss of income, Mr. Panda alleged, “exclusion from PDS will further reduce food intake of families, and worsens the already abysmal nutritional status of children, adolescent girls and women.”

The forum demanded improvement in access to PDS. “A standard operating procedure for porting newly wed women’s names from parental to marital ration cards in a time-bound manner, must be issued after consultation with different stakeholders,” it emphasised.

Grievance redressal

A grievance redressal system should be implemented to identify and fix gaps in the process.

There must be a mechanism to inform beneficiaries about deletion and addition of names in PDS system.

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Printable version | Apr 18, 2021 12:23:04 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/activists-demand-inclusion-of-newlywed-women-in-pds/article34009416.ece

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