20 September, 2020

The Budget Sets Foot In Kitchens

An experiment in cash transfers in a Delhi slum gets a mixed reception

The Budget Sets Foot In Kitchens

Sharoon is among the hundreds from the slum settlement of Jahangirpuri, in northwest Delhi, who are protesting against government plans to remove ration supplies from fair price shops or PDS outlets and instead ‘empower’ people by giving the subsidy amount as cash transfers  directly into their bank accounts. With 13 members in the family to feed, Sharoon puts it rather bluntly: “In our house, the money could end up being used for something else, given the many demands. I’d prefer to get rations.”

On since June, the agitation by poor families from the jhuggi-jhonpri clusters, or JJ colonies as they are known, of Jahangirpuri, has stalled the Delhi government’s plans to replicate the pilot project carried out last year in Raghubir Nagar in west Delhi organised by sewa Bharat, funded by the UNDP. Female heads of 100 families were provided Rs 1,000 each in their bank accounts with the freedom to buy what they liked.

Almost all of them reported they were happy with the experience, says Renana Jhabvala of sewa Bharat. The report...



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