Letter to the Prime Minister

To

Shri Narendra Modiji

Prime Minister

 

Dear Shri Modiji,

The sudden announcement of the lockdown three weeks ago has left lakhs of migrant workers helpless. It has deprived almost all marginal families across the country of their livelihoods. They need urgent help, care and succour.

While some of those workers have ration cards and Jandhan accounts, many do not have the same. In many cases, they have applied for ration cards but are yet to receive them for one reason or the other. In several cases, they do not have Jandhan accounts or those accounts in place are inactive. The linking of Aadhar, though well intentioned, has created further problems for them.

Right now, those affected by the lockdown are in urgent need of rations and some cash assistance. Considering that the Food Corporation of india (FCI) has sizeable stocks of foodgrains in store, this is the most appropriate time to take advantage of the same and make rations available to those in need, without insisting on documentation Quick local enquiries can ascertain the financial status of the needy families.

In this connection, I refer to the article written by Prof Jean Dreze (https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/coronavirus-lockdown-food-for-poor-migrants-mass-exodus-jean-dreze-6353790/) a few days ago on the subject for your reference.I feel that what Prof Dreze has suggested needs to be taken with utmost seriousness.

In several States like Andhra Pradesh, in the cities and the towns, the government has conducted local enquiries to ascertain the financial condition of those not having ration cards and provided them rations as a special case. This has given ready relief to the beneficiaries, as many of them stand deprived of their livelihoods due to the lockdown restrictions.

I request you to release foodgrain stocks to the States urgently supported by adequate financial help and allow them to provide the same to each and every family in need, irrespective of the fact whether they are in possession of a ration card or not. This exceptional arrangement can continue for sometime, at least for the next month or so, till such time that the affected families are in a position to earn their livelihoods.

May I appeal to you to act on this urgently?

Regards,

Yours sincerely,

 

E A S Sarma

Former Secretary to GOI

Visakhapatnam


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